Pete Lee

Friday, June 24, 2005

My letter to Senator Gordon Smith has a fairly comprehensive summary of the issues surrounding the funding of public broadcasting. It would be shameful to see CPB become a government-supported analogue of Fox News. Sending a letter or e-mail to your representative or senator would be a good idea.

Dear Senator Smith,

As a member of your constituency, I am writing to ask that you support any and all efforts to restore full funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

I am puzzled by the GOP's categorization of public broadcasting as a mouthpiece for a liberal agenda. As someone who was raised to appreciate conservative thought (and a former volunteer for the Bush/Quayle campaign), I am qualified to assert that this is simply not the case.

My immigrant mother, fearing television overrun with marketing and programs of dubious worth, mandated PBS viewing in our household. I, as have millions of other children, learned the importance of consideration for others and a love of learning from shows such as Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street. NOVA helped me develop an apppreciation for the sciences, a key component of my professional life today. I learned about the importance of political dialogue and discussion from shows like Firing Line, hosted by none other than noted conservative William F. Buckley. I developed a taste for epicurean pursuits courtesy of the enthusiastic first lady of French cuisine, Julia Child. Rick Steves' European travel shows, produced by OPB, encouraged me to journey abroad to experience other cultures. I developed an appreciation for our nation's history through Ken Burns' shows on the Civil War. I challenge anyone to tell me how are these things are bad.

In addition to funding cuts, I am highly dismayed by the impressive hubris demonstrated by CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson in hiring a former RNC chair. This blatantly partisan action is deleterious to the credibility of the Republican party. It will also encourage Americans to find other sources of information that lack the depth and breadth of research that goes into public broadcasting collateral. Many alternatives are simply sub-par.

I believe that we share a belief in meritocracy, an important conservative ethic. Because of that, I support public broadcasting with my donations. I put my money where my mouth is.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration of my letter, and respectfully ask for your support.

-Pete Lee


  • It’s been my experience that writing your congressperson works best if it’s a _actual_ letter (the paper kind). Of all the times I’ve written my representative or senator, the only times I’ve gotten a response back, are the times I sent a paper letter in. The responses are usually irritating and condescending though. When I write my congressperson deep down I know that they don’t give a rat’s ass what I think, but that doesn’t mean that when you open that official looking envelope you don’t want to see something like “ Dear Constituent, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day doing important things to write me, a humble public servant. Your views are wise and your writing erudite, and not at all crank-like. I had not considered the matter fully and your inspiring letter has led me away from the path of darkness. Please write more often, in fact I would like to offer you a job on my staff so you can keep spreading the fruits of your incalculable knowledge to serve mankind. Your servant and disciple, Congressperson Foo”. So write your congresscritter but don’t expect it to do any good, it’s your duty as a citizen.

    By Anonymous eric, at Monday, June 27, 2005 9:06:00 AM  

  • Perhaps I should sum up. 1. Writing your congresscritter, for me at least, amounts to an ideological wank 2. nobody except marketers cares what your opinion is. 3. As a corollary to 1, writing letters to congresspersons and posting comments on blogs is a narcissistic pursuit, and by no means should be viewed as world-changing, but we do it anyway because we are duty bound. By duty bound I’m referring to the fact that we live in a democracy so participating is mandatory. The fact that I wouldn’t be posting here at all if pete wasn’t a good friend further points to duty, duty to one’s friends. Shit I’m verbose today. I’m going back to bed. Narcissism rocks!

    By Anonymous eric, at Monday, June 27, 2005 9:20:00 AM  

  • PBS has strong support from the Oregon representatives, I didn't feel quite the level of urgency that an honest-to-god snail mail letter would generate. That said, it beats an electronic form letter or the complete waste of time known as the Internet form letter petition.

    Worst case scenario is that their staffers add a tickmark to the list of issues they track from their constituency, with the e-mail subsequently tossed into the bit bucket. I'm fine with that.

    You're correct about the horrible responses. I've generally found that they are very generic, and thinly veiled stump speeches for the next election. As noted on NPR during their coverage of Filibustergate, "there are two things you don't want to see made: sausages and law."

    By Blogger PeteLee, at Monday, June 27, 2005 10:05:00 AM  

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