Monday, September 29, 2008

Basic good manners around politics and email

Wow, never thought I'd say this, but today, I agree with Roger Ebert. He's got a nice little bit on his blog today of what constitutes good manners. To Ebert's entry, I say, "two thumbs up!"

And while we're talking about manners and politics this election season...

A lot of letters have been popping up in the advice columns, carping (rightfully) about getting politically-tainted emails from a friend or loved one. Said emails usually bash the recipients preferred candidate, or glamorize the sender's preferred candidate.

A note from the Etiquette Bitch: I realize you love your candidate, but please, please, please -- I plead to both parties--don't send such missives. Whether it's your opinion in an email, or a link to a Rolling Stone story about Palin's lies, or the latest digs on politico, just don't do it. Here's why:

1. your vitriol is unlikely to sway the recipient into voting for your candidate
2. the email will not change his or her mind
3. the emails are usually unwelcome (ergo, slightly rude)
4. it's an unproductive use of your energy

If you really care about your candidate, go volunteer for a few hours, write letters to your representatives about the change you want to see, or do something immediate that will have a positive impact in your world: spend time with your kids, clean up your lawn, plant a garden. Sing a song, buy the Flight of the Conchords CD, or go work out at the gym.

While I love, love, love our right (a right that needs to be protected) to free speech, I can't see the benefit of sending a one-sided missive that causes bad feelings between friends and family. Yes, I want you to express your opinion in an open, respectful forum, but one-way bombardment tends to ruffle the feathers. And usually has zero effect.

How about some two-way dialogue?
For an example, see here.