A recent e-post in Messenger proposed a Parliamentary Reform Act (requiring MPs to lose the Parliamentary Retirement Fund to which they contribute on a 1:4 ratio, and for which they are eligible to draw benefits after 10 years’ elected service) and suggested every recipient of the post forward it to 20 other people, suggesting that the message would be received by most people in Canada within about three days. In three days, either everyone has the electronic message, or some people will have received the same message a couple dozen times – depending on the number they call friend.
In just two decades, electronic messaging has all but eliminated more traditional forms of communication. How often do we drop whatever we’re doing to email or text – and then do it all again – and again – and again – when picking up the phone and actually talking to the person would have achieved the objective more efficiently? Accepted ‘wisdom’ says that texting or email is faster; but it ain’t necessarily so. Its biggest benefit? No messy human interaction.
Email, e-cards and other e-correspondence have all but sounded the death knell for traditional letter-writing. Derided as “snail mail” (because speed is of the essence when sending photos of puppies, or the latest jokes) the intimate act of crafting and sending an actual handwritten or even typewritten letter is prompted mainly by the Big Three C’s: Congratulations, Condolences, Christmas.
Researchers have discovered that, as a result of becoming less common, handwritten letters have assumed a disproportionately weighted power. The simple act of taking time to choose stationery, choose words thoughtfully that will be written carefully (because who wants to mar the page with White-Out?) is a clear demonstration of the writer’s regard for both the letter’s subject, and its recipient.
In spite of the Rise of the Millennials, the Baby Boomers still hold the reins of power when it comes to letter-writing. Ours was the generation drilled in the Maclean Method of Writing, in correct grammar and the use of both Thesaurus and dictionary. Time to dust off those skills, get out the good pen and paper, order those thoughts (list the points to be made so nothing gets overlooked when the creative muse incites the words to flow) and let your elected representative, party leaders, local government officials or that guy with the sign know how you really feel.
As a start, write your MP or preferred party leader; if they are an elected Member of Parliament, no stamp is required for postage. Right now, the newly-minted MPs are setting their legislative agendas. It’s a good time to send your own wish list, perhaps inspired by those proposed parliamentary reforms, or by any one of a dozen causes and realities facing our nation and its future.
Write. Because we can.