Dear Valued Constituent, Whoever You Are

Politics is getting weird. Or should I say weirder. In their quest to be the boy/girl next door and your new third best friend, politicians are hitting the email circuit in their personal pleas for money, support, and well dressed people to show up and pose for pictures with them.

Today took the cake, though, when I got an email from Congressman Ben Chandler that started out, “Dear Howard.” I’ve been addressed as Daine, David, Liane and Mr. Fitzpartick, but Howard’s a new one.  I don’t think I even know any Howards. 

Chandler’s office may have me down as a multiple personality.  Once, two summers ago, my daughter and I attended the Invisible Children campaign’s Global Night Commute in Triangle Park in downtown Lexington, we took a  young hippie chick’s advice and picked up some blank paper and envelopes and decided to write to our congressman. Note I said it’s a “night commute,” so it was dark. Very dark.  We were also on the ground, with no handy clipboards or hard surfaces to write on. We wrote our letters with convincing phrases like “international disgrace,”  “American obligation ” and “save the world.” At least that’s what I thought we wrote. I also thought I signed my letter “Diane Laney Fitzpatrick.”

But then about three weeks later, I got a letter from Chandler’s office addressed to B. Lance Ferndick that said Chandler had received my letter and would get right that issue that I wrote about. Whatever it was.  

If there’s a database of addresses, my congressmen probably have my house address listed as a flophouse where lots of people who got D-minuses in penmanship sit around and write letters all day.

I would send a correction out to Ben right away, except I’m thinking of nurturing this Howard persona. I can make stuff up about him, get his name out there, sign him up for faux painting classes at Home Depot, dance lessons at Arthur Murray, and then sit back and see what kind of junk mail he gets. 

He’s a Democrat, that’s for sure, but he might be a Hillary’s-army-blue-collar Democrat, instead of an Obama-latte-loving-elitist-liberal Democrat like the rest of this household. There could be some tension here and Howard might just have to start doing his own laundry.