Sherry Hopkins Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008

‘Duly noted,’ quest for receipt turns Quixotic

So what happens exactly when you phone and email the President, Congress and Senators?

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This is the rest of the story from last week. If you didn’t read this column last Friday then you don’t know that I asked you to contact your representatives and let them know if you were unhappy with the $700 billion dollar bailout financed with our tax dollars. I suggested that you ask for an itemized receipt.

Well I can tell ya’ this, the government ain’t your local Wal-Mart. They don’t give receipts and they will plainly ignore your request for one. Instead they will tell you that THEY didn’t vote for the bailout and they will tell you all the wonderful things that they have done since being elected to office.

The White House was the worst. I was told by Operator MF 043 that my concerns would be duly noted. Uh-huh, I bet that’s right, duly noted to the nearest wastebasket. They also responded to my email with a curt reply stating that they don’t reply to emails. You know, because they get so many.

The first Congressman that I contacted, Travis Childers, had a delightful energetic sounding staff that snickered when I asked for an itemized receipt. When that snicker was met with stony cold silence on my end, the delightful young lady cleared her throat and with as much professionalism as she could muster said that she would pass my request on to the Congressman who was “out of the office” at the moment.

I saw Childers later that day at our Cracker Barrel, so I guess perhaps he had been out. He didn’t help me with the receipt request at Cracker Barrel either.

The email that followed the phone call however was both apologetic and a little shocking as I learned that while I was concerned with the initial $700 billion there may have been an additional $200 billion added to the whole somewhere down the line. I don’t know how I missed that because news junkie that I am I barely eat or sleep for watching “the news.”

Well, miss sleep maybe, I tend to eat pretty regular.

But back to the Congressman, Childers added that he was “glad to have the benefit of my views,” called me by name and assured me that he continues to work on the “tremendous uncertainty and volatility of our financial system.”

Great, but what about my receipt?  Does anybody care about my receipt?

Governor Ronnie Musgrove didn’t even have staff to answer his phone, so maybe he’s cutting back in anticipation of darker days.

The governor or someone did respond to my email and it was eerily similar to the one from the White House, thanking me without naming me, telling me that they appreciate hearing my views but, “due to the large volume of emails received, we cannot possibly respond to everyone.”

“But I’m not everyone,” I thought, “I’m ME.”

I signed all my requests with my full name and the addition that I have been a taxpayer since 1968. Obviously that information matters only to me.

Senator Roger Wicker’s office responded with a form letter stating he too did not vote for the bailout and to contact him if he could ever assist me. I did and he didn’t.

So to wind it all up, I guess I’m not getting a receipt. I don’t like paying for things and not getting a receipt. Especially when it’s cash. Lots and lots of cash.

As of this writing gas is down almost a dollar a gallon. That’s the only good news, economically speaking, that I know. The election is just days away and we all need to be well informed about the issues that are closest to our hearts and the candidates’ stands on those issues before we vote. Whether you vote by party lines, your heart, your conscience or your pocketbook, be sure to vote.

Our country depends on you. Although we are in the depths of despair at this moment, we are still the greatest nation in the world. Freedom still rings from sea to shining sea.

Please remember to VOTE on Tuesday November 4. But you can forget about getting a receipt.

You get the picture.

(Contact Sherry at swhcsc@cableone.net)