Obviously, the President of the United States isn't as likely to return an email as a councilperson or a mayor, but when a public official takes the time to read an email, it's more likely to register with them if it contains reasoned, cogent arguments in lieu of rants and profanity.
The angrier a message is, the more it risks being dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic. The problem is that it is so easy to dispatch an email in anger that people often don't take the time to think about what they've written.
Now, I've often said that anger is the most useful emotion. Sadness rarely inspires people to take action to fix problems; despair is an internal emotion. Fear can get you to take action, but in a defensive way. Anger is the most productive--it spurs you to act.
However, uncontrolled anger is counterproductive. It's the equivalent of a wildfire--it has no direction and it harms everything in its path. Harnessed fire, like harnessed anger, can be extremely productive. It can power homes, automobiles, and cities.
Therefore, if a citizen wants a productive exchange with politicians after they do something upsetting, as they often do, harnessed anger should be expressed to them, not irrational, wild anger.
When popular talk-radio hosts John and Ken criticized Mayor Bill Fulton of Ventura for 20 minutes last week over concerns that the city's parking meters are hurting businesses, they gave out his email address several times and posted it on their website. Consequently, Mayor Fulton received about 25 emails (admittedly, that was lighter than I thought it was going to be), some of which were profane.
How productive does the sender of a profane email think it's going to be?
email read, "Why don't you get a f___ing clue?" (I've removed some letters for
Do you think Mayor Fulton will run out and try to "get a clue"? Do you think he'll spend more than one second thinking about the email? No, he'll dismiss the author as someone who is upset at the world and taking it out on him, as most people would. [continue reading]