Saturday, July 11, 2009

Not sure what to think...

Today I received mail from Washington... from the White House, in fact! At least, it said so in the upper lefthand corner of the envelope. I figured it was probably some sort of form letter response to my letter to the President regarding my opposition to the "Freedom of Choice Act."
Hand-addressed to me, too - wow! I wouldn't think that there was a person sitting in the White House hand-addressing and applying stamps to envelopes... they don't have some sort of bulk mail rate at the White House? Hmm, more wasted tax dollars, I guess!

So, here's the thing: the envelope was empty. There was nothing in it at all. Nothing. I even checked for white powder, and nope - empty. Where is my letter? Or is this some sort of prank? My husband says that the envelope looks exactly like the one he received (some font, I guess) as the one he received from President Clinton back when he was in high school, congratulating him on his Boy Scout Eagle Award.

Then I remembered... what a coincidence - I had sent an empty envelope to the White House myself a few months ago! An empty, red envelope. I had the courtesy to explain on the back of my envelope what its purpose was... there was nothing written on the back of the envelope I received today.

So, is this just some kind of mistake? Was there supposed to be a letter responding to my concerns about FOCA or my concerns about the genocide called abortion that remains legal in this country (and could become even more protected under the law as our current President seems to want it to be)? Or should I feel... mocked, perhaps? After all, I did send them an empty envelope myself, representing one life lost to abortion, one life that was unable to have its voice heard by our elected officials in Washington. Getting an empty envelope in response... is that their way of saying, "No response - we don't care. That life is still gone, and we remain silent on the matter."

So now I am really curious... did anyone else who participated in the Red Envelope Campaign receive a response? Or an empty envelope? Did anyone who mailed a letter directly to the President recieve anything in response via mail? What was supposed to be in my envelope??? Or was it intended as is??

See? It's really empty!


Maureen said...

David and I sent in red envelopes too. I will let you know if we get the same response. In the mean time, if you start feeling light headed and fainty you might want to call a doctor!

Carrie said...

So, as my usual response to a question, I googled it. "received empty envelope from white house" returned many results, the first four being about the red envelope campaign, then #5 is guess what?! Your blog post! ha ha! You're on google! Sorry to not be more helpful! That is so weird!

Charlotte said...

I would try to contact someone in the Pro-Life movement and see if you can find anyone else who has received an empty envelope. The more I think about the message this is sending the more terrified I am.

If the letter was left out intentionally then these people have taken the time and money to tell you that you don't matter. They didn't say, "Thank you for taking the time to let us know what you think." They didn't ignore you like you were some crazy hate mail sender. They said "nothing" and they wanted you to know that they said nothing and that they don't care. You can't even assume your letter to them got lost in the mail!

Tiny Actions said...

I wonder if there is a way to contact the White House to make sure if this was intended or simply a mistake.

This is a bit creepy if it was not some sort of mistake. Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's Cheif of Staff, in his earlier political career, sent a dead fish to a pollster who disagreed with him. Just thank your lucky stars it wasn't a dead fish!

Don't know if you're familiar or even a fan of Sean Hannity, but he speaks quite a bit about the dead fish incident and how Emmanuel likes to use other sorts of intimidation tactics on his opponents. Perhaps if you're so inclined, you can email Hannity about your blog post. I'm sure he'd be interested.


Christine said...

I am surprised that someone from the White House with such POOR penmanship would have access to stationary and postage! Because of that I doubt it was an official mailing but some White House postage clerk who did it for S*$(S and Giggles.

Cecilieaux said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lisa Julia Photography said...

Saw your blog link on American Papist's FB page...i will let you know if i get an empty envelope. I live right outside DC so i can't imagine it would take long for it to arrive...very strange! i agree you should contact the Hannity or perhaps EWTN =)

Derek Pillie said...

I would suggest calling the WH switchboard and ask for the correspondence office. Tell them exactly what the cancellation says. I can't get a good look at it from the pictures on your blog, but I'm not sure the cancellation is what you would normally see from the WH (they have their own ZIP 20500).

Also, another commenter mentioned the penmanship and your comment on the manual stampig leads me to believe that possibly someone used an envelope without permission.

Chris Lewis said...

I have left a message for Jeff Stevens in the correspondence office this morning, on Erin's behalf. Waiting for a response.

Mickey Jackson said...

This is some stupid intern playing a prank.

Maureen said...

Either that, or it's just an intern being sloppy. There's a blog about stuff people have seen congressional summer interns doing. It seems a lot of the munchkins have never worked any job before, and in positions of semi-responsibility they come totally unclued.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Erin, that is just so weird. I hope you can get to the bottom of it, if it has indeed come from the White House, I'd say that is very unacceptable behaviour and worth following through to get to the bottom of it. Maybe as Charlotte said, a pro-life group could help or even EWTN?

Pharmgirl said...

I found your blog from AmP. I agree with what several others said: an intern with a bad attitude and not enough work wanted to pull a prank on you. The hand-addressed envelope and using a stamp instead of bulk rate postage give it away.

(But don't hate on the person's penmanship - I've seen far, FAR worse from people with actual authority!)

Mike said...

I'll see if I get one too.

Anonymous said...

I just happened upon your blog from the AP website. I was curious as I, too sent in a red envelope. That's all just background. . . I'd like to offer one comment. I assume you are Catholic, so I read your profile. I see that you listed your astrological and Zodiac signs as part of your profile. Neither one of these forms of "entertainment" are sanctioned by Mother Church. You cannot be faithful to the Church and to "fortune telling techniques", as well. I humbly ask you, for the sake of being a true witness to the Catholic faith, to remove these items from your profile. You are misleading people into believing these are things the Church approves of. Thank you for your consideration.

Erin said...

I do appreciate your concern, but I think it is misplaced. Honestly, I didn't even realize that my zodiac sign was listed on my profile. It automatically shows up unless you uncheck the box in the section where you type in your birthday. It being listed does not mean I read my horoscope and rely on it or anything of that sort. In case it does scandalize anyone, I went ahead and unchecked that box in my profile so it no longer appears.

Gretchen said...

I came over from AMP. I did receive an envelope and a letter was included. I never figured it applied to the red envelope campaign, but I guess it did.

Call me Paul said...

I suspect someone's have some fun at your expense. My guess is that envelope has never been anywhere near the White House.

Rob C. said...

I was an intern with the U.S. State Department a number of years ago, and this does not resemble any of our official mailings.

Any outgoing correspondence is reviewed by a senior assistant for errors. I can also assure you that envelopes would always be printed, not hand written. This smacks of something irregular, and very non-official.

Access to blank White House stationary is restricted. Some intern could be in a good deal of trouble for this stunt.

Frink said...

That's hilarious. Don't complain about it. You can't be snarky and send an empty envelope then act offended when you get one back. That's just hypocritical.

So c'mon, take it with some dignity. Surely you must see the satirical value here.

Erin said...

A note to anonymous commenters: if you have nothing more to add than a rude one-lined comment, don't bother. I won't approve comments from people who are too timid to say who they are.

I do find it interesting that, just when I think liberals are mostly nice people with good intentions, I begin to have my doubts again. Why is it that they cannot provide a dissenting opinion backed by logic and reason and instead just randomly say something rude or attacking? To go onto a stranger's simple little blog and say that they are stupid... what is the purpose in that? I welcome all intelligent debate - although I really can't see what there is to debate here, as I am merely speculating about why this envelope was empty. I am just curious and my intention is not to anger liberals. If they can get worked up enough over it to want to bother with making insulting comments.... I don't know what to say, then.

Erin said...

Frink, you don't seem to understand that the empty envelope was not merely empty... it had a message on the back of it explaining its purpose. So no, it is not quite the same thing for me to receive a completely empty envelope with no message on the back. Sending the red envelope was not an attempt to be "snarky." It was valid correspondence with our elected officials letting them know my feelings on a subject - something we as citizens *should* be doing. See the link provided in the post for the details about the Red Envelope Campaign. So no, I am not being "hypocritical."

Also, I am not complaining about anything (other than wasteful use of tax dollars!). I do think it is kind of funny. The purpose of this post was to speculate... to wonder, "Why?"

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a picture of the postmark. Did it really come from DC? If so it was probably an intern joke. I'm wondering though if someone you know who you told about sending the red envelope is having you on.

Cecilieaux said...

Since you want to debate this, I find the notion of the campaign a little silly. I had never heard of it until now and I can't imagine that there is any kind of message to convey by simply continuing the exchange of symbolic protests. At some point people who disagree have to articulate some thought in the direction of working out a solution. I thought Obama and the president of Notre Dame offered a pretty good example of a kind of dialogue that has to take place.

As to the empty envelope allegedly from the White House, if the envelope actually exists and you actually did receive it and are not simply seeking attention with a made up piece of paper that in this day and age nearly anyone could fake, it's obviously not legit. To suggest otherwise is to be excessively suspicious.

It's funny because the only folks who have used violence to make a point in this national argument is the supposedly "pro-life" side. A little circumspection might go a long way.

Does that satisfy your hunger for reasoned discussion?

Cecilieaux said...

Last comment, but it might solve the mystery. I noted that the envelope has a stamp, rather than being metered or having a government frank. Moreover, it seems placed a little oddly. I can't see the postmark, but that should provide some more information as to its origin.

Finally, some people take exception to the word "stupid." I meant it as "silly."

Closet said...

Having received an ACTUAL letter from the White House, I know that letters from the President are 'frank'ed and would not have a stamp on it. This is a fake, and you are running a hoax.


You've committed a Hell-worthy sin? Over politics? You'd better hope I'm right, or you gonna be burning with me.

molly said...

erin i am sorry that happened to you. It would freak me out!

Please disregard liberal silly people. Hold firm to your beautiful family and faith.

MikeTheInfidel said...

No, the purpose of this post was to foment fear and a conspiracy attitude. Someone is playing a joke on you and you read into it that there's an anti-Pro Life conspiracy in the White House. Take a breather, please.

Kathreja said...


I live in DC, what is the zip on the cancellation? Just wondering because I can probably tell you if it came from the WH or if it was a drop box on someone's way to the bus or Metro. Sorry, the one that showed the cancellation isn't big enough.

Though it is odd that it is hand written, but not unheard of, I got one when I was in High School that the address was hand written (Clinton) and my name was misspelled.

Erin said...

Wow, some of you are really judgmental, to say that because there is an actual stamp on the envelope that I must have made it up myself? I really don't have the time to look up official White House font and then make a fake envelope with it. The postmark is weird - the stamp is canceled, but there is no evidence of what location the letter was postmarked. So yes, it does look sketchy. It appears to be a real White House envelope, so somebody up there is messing with the envelopes at the very least.

I think that if it is some intern's doing, then that is evidence of being anti-prolife and not just some little prank. If it was intended as a prank, it was in a vindictive anti-prolife way. But honestly, it could have just been a mistake as well.

And what remains interesting is that, nearly 24 hours later, there has been no response from the correspondence office in DC.

Closet,I shake my head and sigh at your words. What have we come to, that you decide based on some stranger's blog that the person is a liar and running a hoax? I think it is you who needs some extra prayers said for yourself. Your comment will remain here for awhile - some of these comments need little defense because they stand alone as evidence of the hatefulness of their authors.

Cecileaux, I don't think Obama's discussions have done anything more than go around in a circle. They sound good and compassionate and like he wants to work with differing views, but they mean nothing. He wants federal funding for abortions, which is sure to increase the number of abortions, yet he says he wants to decrease the number of abortions? His words are empty when they are followed by contradictory words and actions. Also, I never claimed the envelope was "legit." I am still wondering who did it and why. And as to the "violence" comment, well, we've all heard that one before: that because some people who claim to be on the pro-life side have used violence, then the movement itself must be violent. None of the leaders or pro-life organizations condone violence, and I myself disagree strongly as well. I am pro-life entirely - conception to natural death, no excuses, meaning I also disagree with the death penalty. How ironic to mention violence to me, who clearly has no intention of violence, when the issue at hand involves violence to the most innocent and helpless of humanity. And, for the record, I have been threatened online by a pro-choicer who became extremely hateful in what was otherwise a factual and well-reasoned abortion debate. The pro-life side was very calm and respectful while remaining factual and making our position, and the pro-choice side came back slinging insults and threats. And I will remind the readers that your first comment was a random attack/insult of, "Stupidity begets more stupidity" and that I had to press in order to get anything of substance from you. I do appreciate that you are more willing now to talk instead of just be rude.

And I never think that any abortion-related issues are "silly." That would be disrespectful to life, in my own opinion. If the sender of the envelope merely intended to be silly and did not have any kind of abortion-related rhetoric intended, then okay, it is silly. But if it had any implications that the protest of legalized abortion is silly, then no way - it is serious business.

Erin said...

Mike T, while I appreciate your ability to read my mind and know the reason for my post, it looks like your mind-reading powers have failed you this time. I think you're the one with a conspiracy theory over a mom's simple blog post that merely wonders and speculates about the many possibilities of this envelope's intended purpose. So, please take your comments over somewhere else where you can claim to know other people's intentions in their writing. And maybe reread this post while keeping in mind its speculative nature. If I really wanted to spread fear and start a conspiracy theory then I would have titled this post, "Clear message of hatred and disdain for pro-life side, straight from the desk of Obama." Ha - I'm not vain enough to believe that the President himself would be behind this one envelope.

cypressgreen said...

How do we know you are telling the truth and not just trying to inflame the situation? You arlready have commenters on here saying they are "terrified." Geez, get a life.
It sure got a lot of publicity, like the woman who carved a B on her face at election time. A photo of an empty envelope as proof? Riiiight.
If you are being truthful, I'd say it's a simple error. Dozens of people must work in the WH mailroom, and people do make mistakes.
You say, "And what remains interesting is that, nearly 24 hours later, there has been no response from the correspondence office in DC."
I think they probably are way too busy to answer such a small issue in less than 24hrs. To think this is a priority to them is to inflate your own importance.

Chris Lewis said...'re not familiar with the violence perpetrated by the pro-aborts? Ok, the obvious violence being perpetrated by the pro-aborts is against unborn babies on a daily basis, but you probably fall into that category that believes the unborn are how about reading about one abortion clinic where the employees have tried (at least once) to run down pro-lifers with their car?

Scottie C said...

I think it is ironic that you are concerned that this empty envelope constitutes a "waste of taxpayer money". Doesn't the red envelope campaign itself waste hours upon hours of White House mailroom staff time and resources sorting and disposing of your unsolicited mail?

We're talking about the office of the President of the United States of America. If you have an issue, speak with your senator or congressman. This campaign is the equivalent of having a complaint about rules at work and, rather than speaking with your manager, going directly to the CEO.

Erin said...

Cypress green, you don't have to believe me. No skin off my back. It really doesn't bother me if strangers don't think I am truthful. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt if I have no other evidence to believe they tend to be untruthful, but I cannot change other people's views of humanity.

I see that you changed your comment to your actual name from "anonymous," which is why it is visible here now. And I never heard of the woman who put a B on her face at the election... so perhaps it didn't really get as much publicity as you think. I hardly think that 30 comments constitutes all that much attention anyway.

Erin said...

Scotty, it's not unsolicited mail. We are supposed to tell our elected officials what we think, which is why I have sent letters to my congressmen and the President, as well as the red envelope. It is their jobs to listen to the opinions of the people. That is why they have a mailroom.

cypressgreen said...

Yes, I changed from Anonymous because I caught what you said about that after I sent the first time.
Google "B carved in face." This was a major story during the campaign. I'm surprised you missed it. It's all on You Tube as well.

I have a very positive view of humanity, thank you very much. But people on the internet scam all the time. For money, for attention, for whatever. I am just pointing out that there's no reason for us to believe everything we're told.
As to publicity...your story is already spreading far beyond your site.

Scottie C said...


I'm all for sharing opinions with those in power, but the red envelopes ARE unsolicited mail. Why not sign a petition or attend meetings en masse? By sending hundreds of red envelopes you (collectively, not personally) are a) wasting time for government employees and b) wasting taxpayer money.

I think you should do what any other rational person would do with an empty envelope. Recycle it.

Erin said...

No, cypress green, you surely don't have to believe me. And of course, scams are everywhere, so sadly, people are on their guard more often these days.

Scottie, I have signed petitions, emailed my reps, sent actual detailed letters, volunteered at the pro-life booth at our county fair... there are numerous ways I have tried to get the pro-life message out there. But I maintain that the people in DC are there because we put them there, and we should let them know in as many ways as we can when we disagree strongly with their position or with laws they are supporting or creating. Whether it is a waste of tax dollars seems to be subjective - you think it is, perhaps because you disagree with the cause, or whatever your reasoning is... okay. Personally, I think that sending letters (repeatedly, if need be) to DC and having them be opened, sorted, whatever, is a valuable use of tax dollars regardless of the reason for sending the letters. As long as a person really has an issue they want to address with their reps, then they should definitely send letters, or emails, or both. Even if it is something I completely disagree with - say, if people were sending letters to DC asking for the feds to cover the expenses of Michael Jackson's memorial service - then that is their right to do so, and if they truly feel passionately enough to send the letters, then by all means, they should send them.

The difference I am seeing is that you define it as a waste of time and money subjectively, because you disagree with doing it. The red envelopes (and my letters about FOCA) had an actual purpose that was clearly explained, whether you agree with their purpose or not. An empty envelope with no explanation attached... it had no purpose, or at least its purpose was not made known by the sender. Therefore, I think it can be more objectively called a "waste" of money and time. If it had a purpose written on the back, then it might not have been viewed as a "waste" by people who agreed with its message.

I do think I am going to reject any more comments that repeat what has already been said... I have already declined a couple of comments that just restated "you're stupid," or "this is a hoax." If anyone would like to share their own experience - if they received anything from the White House after sending in either a red envelope or a letter stating opposition to FOCA, I would love to hear about it. I'd like to get back to my original intent: to find out if this was a mistake, or if there was somebody who was irritated by the anti-abortion mailings and thought this would be appropriate. It has been entertaining for me to be able to speculate about this weird envelope.

Milehimama said...

I don't see how a constituent and American citizen sending a political statement (with explanation) to the White House is "unsolicited mail".

Hi Erin, came here by way of Father Z. Sent the link to your blog post to Jill Stanek, to see if anyone else has received a similar response.

Interesting that the logic-challenged commenters assume that since it is irregular, YOU must have faked it. There's simply NO OTHER possibility, is there... no way anyone else in the universe could have sent it. Then, after jumping to conclusions, they take you to task for lying/faking/fraud. Too funny. Especially when there are several possible explanations -

A WH intern sent it as a prank or "statement"

A WH intern is incompetent and forgot to stuff your letter, and the empty envelope was unintentional

Someone else faked it and sent it

You faked it just to drive traffic to your personal blog where you sell nothing, have no ads, and have nothing to gain monetarily


Mrs. Bee said...

give me a break, Blog owner, I would at the very least put it off as a prank or an oops. I have also received hand written and stamped envelops from the WH. Even a year ago, Keep calling and emailing and mailing your representatives. This country is supposed to be for the people, unfortunately, Dems and Liberals have forgotten about that. They are all about government. They forget about the people they represent. They also forget that "fetuses" are babies.........

Chris Lewis said...

White House Correspondence Office called me just now, stating that it was a mistake, and that they had a couple of days where they had hundreds of volunteers in the mailroom stuffing envelopes and that must have been when this mistake was made.

Erin said...

Thanks. Were they able to tell what was supposed to be in the envelope? If it was supposed to be a response to my FOCA letter, or if it was a response to the red envelope?

And if it was volunteers working in the mailroom - guess that didn't cost any of the taxpayers' dollars anyway, huh? ;)

KC said...

Wow. I'm just surprised by some of the comments. And, those are the one that were approved.

I would've been surprised as well and speculated about it on my blog as well. That's the whole point of a blog--to write about what you want to write about.

Red Maria said...

Approve all the comments, gal. Let free speech roll!

As to the envelope I favour the idiotic intern theory. Either that or a mistake.

Probably a prank though.

Bin said...

Hi Erin,

I support you fully, people who have really lost their 'sight', especially when you consider that they could even consider abortion (leave alone considering it as legal - which is beyond any logic or comprehension), as justified - for whatever reason.

Let me make something very clear - if abortion is considered as justified (for whatever reason), then all other murder / killing is justified - for whatever reason.

It just doesn't get simpler than that.

For all those people think that Erin is faking - I presume that you also consider that President Obama is the best thing for the country - wait for 2 more yrs. The full effect of his economic plans will begin to bear fruit (and they're going to be too sour for the American Society).

For too long have we ignored and done nothing, for too long have we lost touch with reality (thanks in large part due to our media). We are going to be having our wake up call soon (no I don't mean judgement day). We're already experiencing something that our best economists couldn't have predicted 3 yrs back and this is just the beginning.

GOD Bless!