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Draft of a letter to my Senator--feedback/criticism welcomed

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by n3uromanc3r, May 24, 2011.

  1. n3uromanc3r Member

    I wrote it up just now and haven't given it a second look yet, so please don't expect this to be a paradigm of perfection.

    Dear Senator ____ _____,

    I’d like to start off by taking the chance to once again thank you for the invaluable experience I had as an intern in your office during the summer of 2007. As a result of that internship, I have a much more thorough understanding of the legislative process and how things are done behind the scenes than my high school AP government class could have hoped to bestow upon me.

    Additionally, I really appreciate the work you’ve done in the Senate both for your _______ constituents and for the constituents of the United States as a whole, as well as for your vehement defense of the Constitution and its amendments, holding people like Attorney Gonzalez responsible for the things they do and say through your work on the ___________ Committee.

    On that note, there is a First Amendment issue about which you may not be entirely informed, largely because it has not yet become an issue in _______. It pertains to the separation of Church and State, and is a startling example of how our legal system can and has been manipulated. It is a complicated situation, and I think it would be best addressed by several members of your legislative team working together. Aside from the First Amendment, the issue at hand also pertains to medicine and economics (as I recall, this last one would be in _______ _____’s domain).

    The Church of Scientology (CoS), while of minimal presence in __________, is nonetheless a dangerous, manipulative, hypocritical, and abusive “religious” entity. Founded by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who is quoted as having said (and I paraphrase here) that the best way to make money is to start your own religion. He did just that, and, in the process of making the for-profit “religion” (hereafter referred to as a “cult,” because that’s more accurate) created an organization that utilizes the benefits and protections granted to religious entities, while nonetheless using front groups [the CCHR, which is anti-psychiatry—something which I, as one of your constituents and a sufferer of mental illness, find terribly offensive; Narconon, an anti-psychiatry organization closely tied to the CoS, which is currently allowed in many jurisdictions around the US and around the globe to “treat” psychiatric patients with non-medically-approved practices (including sauna treatment and weaning patients off of pharmaceuticals from which there are often many benefits) while simultaneously indoctrinating the patients with Scientology’s ideology] to create capital gains. In this way, the CoS is an economic enterprise with the protection granted for religious institutions and the support of local jurisdictions, which are uneducated about the history (see also: Lisa McPherson), the goals, and the manipulations (including the largest incident of domestic espionage in United States history) of the cult.

    For these reasons, the front groups for the cults—Narconon and the CCHR as well as another group which I haven’t mentioned, WISE—need to be stopped wherever they try to expand.

    I’m urging you, as a concerned citizen and a believer in the Constitution and its Amendments, to do what you can to stop these groups from gaining a foothold in our state, should these groups ever try to gain influence there. Also, given your position on the Judiciary Committee, I’d urge you to educate yourself about the criminal history of the corporate cult disguised as a religious entity (and which, ironically, has forced its members to receive abortions), and to do what you can to pass legislation removing the tax-exempt status of its front groups.

    I know that this smacks of conspiracy theory, but I’d urge you to read up on the organization. A good, informative place to start—which attempts to be as unbiased as possible—is Wikipedia. Specifically, please read the articles “Scientology” and “Scientology controversies.” I’m confident that you’ll find their history, their abuses of their own members, and their manipulation of our government to be despicable, and I hope that you’ll do that which is in your power to address these grievances.

    Thank you, as always for the time and dedication that you give to your constituency, and I hope that this letter finds you well.

    Sincerely,

    _______ _______
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Anonymous Member

    Hmmmmm......gotta sleep on this one. I will get back to you on it. First impression - not bad for a first draft. Most of my drafts go to at least eleven, and I'm not being facetious or joking around with you. Vivat!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Anonymous Member

    Same as Auntie - give us some time to think. I normally try to keep the letters as short as possible, without compromising what I want to say - politicians [or rather their assistants] get so much stuff to read, that they want the letters to get to the point immediately.
    More tomorrow.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. n3uromanc3r Member

    Will do.

    I should point out that, as someone who has had to filter through all those messages during my work as an intern on the Hill, citing several issues and pointing the topic to specific legislative team members would automatically put this letter on the desk of important members of his staff, even without the senator's relationship to my family. So brevity is not a concern here. It will get read. The question is whether it will be acted upon.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Anonymous Member

    Well, then you know more than I do. I never worked in any political office.
    I guess I was just speaking for myself - I used to be one of those legal people that gets the letters.
    But if you have a certain connection to a politician - that's great. Even if he doesn't promote any anti-Scientology legislation, it's always helpful educating politiciants.
    One day some Scientology initiative would land on his desk, and he would recall your letter.
  6. n3uromanc3r Member

    My understanding is by no means complete, but in my experience, letters are looked over by interns, who look for key words and names and send the messages to the person they think the letter is best suited for. That person then decides if it's his/her issue and his/her issue alone and, if not, CC's it to other relevant parties. Every letter with anything of substance to say gets a thorough read-through in this particular office (because our population is small enough to make it possible), and well-thought-out letters are almost universally replied to (though often with a response to make the senator's position on the issue clear if it's been stated in the past and sufficiently vague if he hasn't yet weighed in on it.
  7. adhocrat Member

    Too general and unfocused IMHO.
    You say it WILL be read. That is even more reason to make the letter as concise and to the point as possible. If you have an audience, then the next item becomes getting a specific point across.

    Maybe decide on the main point (taxes, human trafficking, destroying families) and push it. Then with good feedback you can start the educational process.

    just my 2¢
    • Like Like x 3
  8. n3uromanc3r Member

    Thanks for your feedback. I will re-read my letter, then mull over the pros/cons associated with 1) making a broad-based argument against CoS and front groups or 2) focus on a more specific subset of issues.
  9. n3uromanc3r Member

    In deciding which issue(s) to press here, I should note that this particular senator is a prominent member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I'm inclined to keep the letter broad-based, since it will give him the opportunity to get riled up about several different issues rather than my putting faith in just one that might get turned down. Still, I could be convinced otherwise.
    EDIT: I think that, were I to narrow this down a little, I'd stick with the issue of the separation of Church and State.
  10. adhocrat Member

    How about inurement? There is pretty damn good evidence that Tom Cruise profited from CoS tax free monies.

    Whatever you write, it's good you're doing it
  11. Herro Member

    Avoid the use of the word "cult." It's divicive, emotionally loaded, and distracts from the relevant points you try to make. Do not urge someone to look at Wikipedia, that just kills your credibility. Also don't say, "it sounds like a conspiracy theory." No reason to go on the defensive if you don't have to.

    In general, I think what you want to do is hammer on the point that the Church of Scientology is receiving benefits without contributing to the public good and may even be engaging in harmful activities. Perhaps refer to the large number of formal investigations carried out against the Church? I think you've got some good stuff in there about that. I would also try to say something specific about what you want this representative to do. Tell him why this is something he / she should care about and why he / she is in a position to do something about it. Mentioning your internship at the start is a great idea. Whatever else you do, leave that in. Also, length is great. Try to not make it much longer if you don't have to.

    Good start. Just make it a little more specific.

    One last thing, don't get discouraged if you don't get anything more than some form letter response. Senators get lots of letters. Just keep at it.
    • Like Like x 8
  12. n3uromanc3r Member

    Thanks for the thoughtful input, Herro. I'll remove the "cult" thing--I see what you're saying. I'll also go against my MO and find an article on the CoS controversy that doesn't come from Wikipedia (but the "Scientology controversies" is such a good article :( ) I'll remove the conspiracy theory part, and try to trim this thing up a little.
  13. Herro Member

    Use the cited sources from the Wikipedia article. Or maybe you could mention that wikipedia has a good summary with plenty of cited sources.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. n3uromanc3r Member

    In case anyone was wondering, yes, I did notice the sentence fragment in paragraph #4. It's been fixed.
  15. n3uromanc3r Member

    Done and done.
  16. n3uromanc3r Member

    I've made a few changes, so this is what my letter looks like in its current form, for anyone who might be interested.:

    Dear Senator ____ _____,

    I’d like to start off by taking the chance to once again thank you for the invaluable experience I had as an intern in your office during the summer of 2007. As a result of that internship, I have a much more thorough understanding of the legislative process and how things are done behind the scenes than my high school AP government class could have hoped to bestow upon me.

    Additionally, I really appreciate the work you’ve done in the Senate both for your _______ constituents and for the constituents of the United States as a whole, as well as for your vehement defense of the Constitution and its amendments, holding people like Attorney Gonzalez responsible for the things they do and say through your work on the ___________ Committee.

    On that note, there is a First Amendment issue about which you may not be entirely informed, largely because it has not yet become an issue in _______. It pertains to the separation of Church and State, and is a startling example of how our legal system can and has been manipulated. It is a complicated situation, and I think it would be best addressed by several members of your legislative team working together. Aside from the First Amendment, the issue at hand also pertains to medicine and economics (as I recall, this last one would be in _______ _____’s domain).

    The Church of Scientology (CoS), while of minimal presence in __________, is nonetheless a dangerous, manipulative, hypocritical, and abusive “religious” entity. It was founded by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who is quoted as having said (and I paraphrase here) that the best way to make money is to start your own religion. He did just that, and, in the process of making the for-profit “religion” created an organization that utilizes the benefits from the protections granted to religious entities, while nonetheless using front groups [the CCHR, which is anti-psychiatry—something which I, as one of your constituents and a sufferer of mental illness, find terribly offensive; and Narconon, an anti-psychiatry organization closely tied to the CoS, which is currently allowed in many jurisdictions around the US and around the globe to “treat” psychiatric patients with non-medically-approved practices (including sauna treatment and weaning patients off of pharmaceuticals from which there are often many benefits) while simultaneously indoctrinating the patients with Scientology’s ideology] to create capital gains. In this way, the CoS is an economic enterprise with the protection granted for religious institutions and the support of local jurisdictions, which are uneducated about the history (see also: Lisa McPherson), the goals, and the manipulations (including the largest incident of domestic espionage in United States history) of the enterprise.

    For these reasons, the front groups for the CoS—Narconon and the CCHR as well as another group which I haven’t mentioned, WISE—need to be stopped wherever they try to expand.

    I’m urging you, as a concerned citizen and a believer in the Constitution and its Amendments, to do what you can to stop these groups from gaining a foothold in our state, should these groups ever try to gain influence there. Also, given your position on the Judiciary Committee, I’d urge you to educate yourself about the criminal history of the corporation disguised as a religious entity (and which, ironically, has forced its members to receive abortions), and to do what you can to pass legislation removing the tax-exempt status of its front groups.

    I’d urge you to read up on the organization. A good, informative place to start—one which attempts to be as unbiased as possible and which contains many valid and cited sources—is Wikipedia. Specifically, please read the articles “Scientology” and “Scientology controversies.” I’m confident that you’ll find CoS’ history, their abuses of their own members, and their manipulation of our government to be despicable, and I hope that you’ll do that which is in your power to address these grievances.

    Thank you, as always for the time and dedication that you give to your constituency, and I hope that this letter finds you well.

    Sincerely,

    _______ _______
  17. Anonymous Member

    Okay, here's a draft of the above with some suggested edits:

    Dear Senator ____ _____,

    I’d like to start off by taking the opportunity to once again thank you for the invaluable experience I had as an intern in your office during the summer of 2007.

    As a result of that internship, I developed a deeper understanding of the legislative process and how things are done behind the scenes. The experience extended and went well beyond all that I learned in my high school AP government classes. For all of this I am grateful.

    Additionally, I really appreciate all the work you’ve done in the Senate both for your _______ constituents and for the constituents of the United States as a whole.

    I am inspired by your vehement defense of the Constitution and its amendments, holding people like Attorney Gonzalez responsible for the things they do and say through your work on the ___________ Committee.

    On that note, there is a First Amendment issue about which you may not be entirely informed, largely because it has not yet become an issue in _______. It pertains to the separation of Church and State, and is a startling example of how our legal system - is and has been - vulnerable to manipulation.

    It is a complicated situation, and I think it would be best addressed by several members of your legislative team working together on this issue. Aside from the First Amendment, the issue at hand also pertains to medicine and economics (as I recall, this last one would be in _______ _____’s domain).

    The Church of Scientology (CoS), while of minimal presence in __________, is nonetheless a dangerous, manipulative, hypocritical, and abusive pseudo-religious entity.
    It was founded by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who is quoted as having said (and I paraphrase here) that the best way to make money is to start your own religion.

    He did just that, and, in the process of making the for-profit pseudo-religion, created an organization that reaps the benefits from the protections granted to authentic religious entities, while nonetheless using many front groups, such as CCHR. CCHR is an organization with an anti-psychiatry agenda.

    As one of your constituents and a sufferer of mental illness, I find the agenda of CCHR to be terribly offensive.

    Another front group is known as Narconon, another anti-psychiatry organization closely tied to the CoS. In many jurisdictions around the US and in parts of the rest of the world, Narconon is currently allowed to “treat” psychiatric patients with non-medically-approved practices. These include a program of ingesting potentially toxic quantities of vitamins and sitting in sauna baths for periods of time that are extreme. Their program is one of weaning clients off of pharmaceuticals (from which there are often many benefits) while simultaneously indoctrinating the clients with Scientology’s ideological biases, in order to create capital gains.

    In this way, the CoS is an economic enterprise with the protections granted for religious institutions and the support of local jurisdictions.

    In general terms, there is sorry lack of education about this organization and its history, which is littered with convictions for criminal activities (footnotes here – snow white, Lisa McPherson, etc.)

    For these reasons, the front groups for the CoS—Narconon and the CCHR as well as another group which I haven’t mentioned, WISE—need to be stopped wherever they try to expand.

    I’m urging you, as a concerned citizen and a believer in the Constitution and its Amendments, to do what you can to stop these groups from gaining a foothold in our state, should these groups ever try to gain influence there.

    Also, given your position on the Judiciary Committee, I’d urge you to educate yourself about the criminal history of the corporation disguised as a religious entity, and to do what you can to pass legislation removing the tax-exempt status of its front groups.

    I’d urge you to read up on the organization. A good, informative place to start—one which attempts to be as unbiased as possible and which contains many valid and cited sources—is Wikipedia.

    Specifically, please read the articles “Scientology” and “Scientology controversies.” I’m confident that you’ll find the CoS history, their abuses of their own members, and their manipulation of our government to be despicable, and I hope that you’ll do that which is in your power to address these grievances.

    Thank you, as always for the time and dedication that you give to your constituency, and I hope that this letter finds you well.

    Sincerely,

    _______ _______
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Smurf Member

    I think politicians are moved more by sincere & personal letters from the heart than letters that look scripted or polished, because they see that shit day in & day out. My personal suggestion to you is if the letter feels good to you, then send it.

    You don't need anyone's feedback because once you request it, the letter is no longer purely you're own. Send it. :)
  19. Herro Member

    Hmmm, I'm not sure of adding in the separation of church and state stuff for two reasons. First, doing so creates an awkward and strange set of arguments where you start by talking about seperation of church and state and then go on to stress that Scientology isn't a religion. If it isn't a religion, then separation of church and state isn't an issue. Second, depending upon who this Senator is, getting involved in a separation of church and state issue may be the last thing he or she would want to do. I would lose the stuff about separation of church and state. I would also avoid spending much if any time trying to convince the senator that Scientology is a sham religion. I would really focus on why this group is harmful. It shouldn't and doesn't matter whether or not they're a religion. Make the case that this is a group that has a negative impact upon the community. You might still say something to the effect of "they hide behind the label of being a religion to divert criticism and investigation into their harmful actions." Just my suggestions. Otherwise it's sounding pretty good.
    • Like Like x 3
  20. n3uromanc3r Member

    Thanks, Herro. Despite your reputation, you've been quite helpful here. I've re-framed my position, getting rid of the emphasis on the separation of Church and State (although, since this senator is a liberal Democrat, I think he might not be turned off by such an angle). I think I'm almost ready to send this thing out.
  21. Herro Member

    Sounds good.
  22. mongrel Member

    Mine goes to eleven too!!!
  23. n3uromanc3r Member

    Letter sent and done with.
  24. Anonymous Member

    Good job. I know it's too late, but for future reference, the special tax exemption from the IRS might be worth mentioning. Judiciary would be interested in an establishment clause violation if framed in connection to a government agency arbitrarily violating the clause without so much as a hello the Senate. Food for thought.
  25. Smurf Member

    Remember to put a stamp on it? :-P
  26. Char. Limit Member

    This is a good letter... is there any way to modify it a bit so that other people could send one to their respective Senators?
  27. n3uromanc3r Member

    Thanks.

    Anyone is more than welcome to lift any and all of the letter as they see fit.
    • Like Like x 1

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