By BOB MCKINNEY
Sadly, I don’t receive much mail — the United State Postal Service kind — of any importance these days.
I have elected to receive electronic communication for most of my bills and notices, and (also sadly) hardly anyone writes letters anymore.
I relish the occasional personal invitation or handwritten thank-you note, but they are few and far between.
Even so, my wife and I dutifully retrieve the mail from our box, if only to flip through and throw most of it away.
But a recently arrived window envelope, larger than business size, caught my eye. The words “DO NOT DESTROY” and “OFFICIAL DOCUMENT” were printed on the front.
Since I’m a rule follower, I did not (immediately) destroy it. Through the window, the following statements appeared in boldface: “Special Notice: You have been selected to represent Voters in Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. Enclosed please find documents registered in your name.”
As far as I knew, nobody had nominated me for any type of office, nor had I announced my candidacy for same. So why had I been selected to represent “Voters in Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District?” And why was “Voters” capitalized?
Through the window I could also see a response date of Aug. 5, 2019. Somebody obviously needed information from me.
Upon opening the envelope, I was further enlightened.
“Robert: Your Participation is Urgently Needed,” the greeting on the first page read, using more capitalized words, I suppose, to stress the importance of my response, and using my given Christian name to make it personal.
Right above that message was a heading in all capital letters that said “2019 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CENSUS.” Perhaps, I thought, it had something to do with a true government census and maybe I was going to be something like a team captain.
For maybe 10 seconds I felt a surge of patriotism, ready to rally my fellow citizens to stand up and be counted. After all, if I had been selected to represent voters in my district, I should take that responsibility seriously.
Regretfully, all of that quickly passed when, underneath the heading about the Congressional District Census I saw, printed in smaller font, these words: “Commissioned by the Republican Party.”
My mild excitement was completely diffused when I read, in even smaller type, the following: “As a key facet of our overall strategy to ensure President Trump is re-elected, the Republican Party is conducting a Census (the composers of this notice were really into this random capitalization thing) of key members and supporters in Congressional Districts all across our nation.”
Going through the entire contents of the envelope, I found a letter addressed to me, calling me by name five different times, from the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel. She explained how, with the “liberal Democrats and mainstream media constantly spreading fake news about President Trump and his administration,” my help is desperately needed.
Ronna (I feel comfortable calling her Ronna because she calls me Robert) told me my participation in this national effort “will show Liberal (capital L) Democrats in Congress, the radical special interest groups, and their Left-wing (capital L again) allies in the media that the American people support President Trump and want to advance his legislative agenda.” Somewhat ironically, she lamented how politically divided we are as a nation.
Along with the letter was a questionnaire, with the first question asking if I considered myself a “Conservative Republican,” “Moderate Republican,” “Independent Voter who leans Republican,” “Liberal Republican,” “Democrat” (with no qualifying adjective) or “Other” with a blank next to it do describe just what type of other I might be.
Additional questions came under the categories of General Issues, Domestic Issues and National Defense, with the final section being titled “Certification and Reply.” By checking a box in this section, I would be agreeing the RNC can count on me as we continue the fight to Make America Great Again, and I would confirm same by sending a suggested donation of anywhere from $25 to $1,000. If I could not contribute at that level, I could check another box in which I would agree to return the document with $15 “to help pay the cost for processing my Census Document.”
I could have some fun with this if I wanted to, but I think, all things considered, it’s best if I send it the way of most of my other unwanted mail, especially since the first multiple choice question doesn’t even have a category for me. (I don’t like referring to myself as Other).
And Ronna, I am sorry to disappoint you, because I know how important this is. Otherwise you would not have repeatedly called me by name and capitalized all those words.
But I’ll tell you what. If you are ever in the neighborhood, please stop by and we’ll chat about this whole political division thing. My friends call me Bob, and you are welcome to do that too.
Ronna, I hope to see you soon.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.