Anyone who's had the misfortune to end up on an email list from any political party knows the drill: Maybe a subject line of something like, "Hey," followed by an oh-so personal appeal from the president himself, or the House leader, or maybe Barbra Streisand, the sender taking a brief moment from a busy schedule to ask for 5 bucks immediately to prevent political Armageddon. These fundraising emails pretty much encapsulate everything that's wrong with American politics, writes John Dickerson at Slate—"the grasping for money, the neediness, the phony plays on your emotion, the baiting, and reduction of anything complex into its most incendiary form."
But maybe worst of all, the emails prove that politicians "think you're stupid." Yeah, we could laugh them off as we do the spam from grammar-challenged overseas hackers. But these come from US political campaigns, from the people we elect to run the country. "When it becomes this easy to lie and manipulate so thoroughly and constantly that it becomes the background music to our politics, it should not simply wash over us without comment," writes Dickerson. Of course, you can't actually reply to these emails, so it's hard to lodge a complaint. "They’re not listening, another way in which these emails mirror our politicians." Click for Dickerson's full column. (Read more political fundraising stories.)