On etiquette

Min has suggested — somewhat diplomatically — that my letters to government officials be less sarcastic and more respectful.

I’m torn on this, personally. I don’t believe anyone will thoroughly read the letter, so I see no reason to be overly respectful. If someone actually does read it, it will probably be a co-op student. In which case, my letter serves a dual purpose. It counts on whatever scorecard the politician’s office keeps for these sorts of things, AND it keeps just one young civil servant from dropping into a boredom-related coma.

What do you think? I’m theoretically capable of writing a more serious letter (though I find the idea less than motivating). Is sarcasm disrespectful? Do elected officials deserve respect simply because they’re elected officials?

Or does any of it matter?

2 thoughts on “On etiquette

  1. Sarah

    From someone who deals with municipal governments, I can tell you that they really do listen to citizens. Or rather, they don’t like it when residents complain, and often are so afraid of doing something “wrong”, or that will cause residents to complain, that they never do anything right.

    I’m not arguing that you should be respectful because they are politicians. However, because you use sarcasm, the intern might not be able to tell if you really are upset about something (some people are Sarcasm-deaf, a variation on tone-deaf). If you really do send your letters, and if you want them to be effective, I would stick to one topic, and be concise. But I would miss your sarcastic letters. Perhaps you could do the first cut for your blog, and then pare it down to the main point before you send it to the politicians.

  2. Tanya Post author

    Okay, that sounds like good advice. Maybe one version for my own personal entertainment/venting purposes, and a more serious version for the mail. My hard copy of this letter is still sitting on the printer, so I’ll trim the sarcasm and limit it to one subject matter… until next time.

    Thanks, Sarah. 🙂


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