Did that get your attention? Guess what- it get's lawmakers' attentions too.
I’ve been a cranking the gears up in the old noggin here recently, ya know, firing up the gerbil and all, about how an out-of-state fellow like myself might best support the Minnesota Vikings in their quest to remain… ya know, the Minnesota Vikings.
Obviously, my voice as a guy who is both a non-voter and also someone who has absolutely no responsibility towards shouldering the tax increase burden can be seen as, how shall we say, meaningless for the most part to the lawmakers of Minnesota. Even the threat of voting against them in future presidential runs (PAWLENTY!!!!) will probably mean absolutely nil.
But when I ended my last piece on the ‘Doomsday Scenario’, I did mention how Minnesota, without the Vikings, has gone from a decent chance to zero chance of seeing any of my money. And that was where the brain juices finally gained some potency.
See, in-state money is nice, but out-of-state money is even better. When I spend $5 on a sandwich in Minnesota, that’s $5 that previously did not exist inside the state that now has entered into circulation. That’s also $5 that just got taxed; again, $5 that Minnesota would have no chance to tax beforehand.
No offense to my native Minnesotan Viking brethren, but ergo- my money’s more important than yours.
And perhaps, maybe, just maybe, state lawmakers aren’t quite getting that, as obvious as perhaps it should be. So the answer is naturally- let them know. Jump in with me after the leap of faith, if you are a Viking fan who doesn’t live in Minnesota, and want to properly get your support squarely behind the Vikings staying in Minnesota.
Emails are nice. They’re also free, and really easy to do. Also, you can fake multiple accounts, with very little chance of any but absolute professionals figuring it out. And if I know all that… Minnesotan legislators also know that.
Therefore, emails are NOT the way to do this. No sir/ ma’am. This calls for us to use the USPS. (That’s United States Postal Service. See, they mail things… not email, but actual mail… plus, this might be your last chance to ever use them!) Why, you ask? Because a.) letters, postcards, etc. that are actually mailed, with an actual, factual stamp and all, get a lot more attention than emails, and b.) if you’re willing to spend money, even if it is less than $1, to mail something out, your stance as someone who might spend money on something else seems a bit more valid. Also, letters more distinctly show geographical diversity thanks to postmarks, and it’s fairly more difficult to fake multiple personalities with real mail compared to email, and therefore the numbers also appear more valid.
Here’s what I’m not going to do- I’m not going to write your letter for you. No form letters. It’s not because I’m lazy- in fact, I initially considered creating at least a semi-form letter for you all to use. However, a form letter shows something of a ‘mass thought’ process, and seems considerably less genuine. If legislatures are receiving the same letter over and over, even from different people, it has a whole lot less meaning than multiple letters that say the same thing, but in unique and different words. (I’d like to thank the gentleman who emailed that tip to us- and he knows what he’s talking about.) So what I’m going to do is basically outline a few good ideas for you to include in said letter, a few obligatory writing tips (a well written letter also has a lot more meaning that something a Kindergartener would write… you know who you are…), and then give you the mailing addresses of a few key legislatures as well as the Minnesota Tourism Department. See, that last bit there is Skol Girl’s idea, and it’s a brilliant one. My suggestion would be to mail two letters (if you’re not willing to spend the postage on two whole letters to save the Vikings, then you’re on the wrong site buddy)- at least one to a key legislator, and one to the Tourism Dept. (They can be the same letter.) Why? Because if the Tourism Dept., who’s whole job is to essentially draw in out-of-state money, receives a load of letters saying that they won’t be getting a considerable chunk of said money, they’re going to also start contacting legislators. Ergo, the guys who hold the keys to the kingdom will be getting it in both ears, and with where we’re at right now, that’s what we need.
OK. So, you’re ready to write/ type up your letter. (Remember, no emails.) Here are the key points you might, nay should, consider bringing up.
· You live out of state. Tell them the region you are from. It may be postmarked on the letter, but maybe they don’t look at that.
· Explain that the reason you are writing is because you want to express that the Minnesota Vikings are either the sole or primary reason you visit/ would visit the state.
· Further explain that without the Vikings, you are either going to not visit, or at least not visit as often, Minnesota.
· Explain that since you will not be visiting the state, you will also not be spending any money in the state.
· Finally, if you can, outline perhaps how much money you did spend in the state in recent years thanks to the Vikings. If you can’t, obviously leave that part out. Don’t say things like ‘I haven’t visited the state yet, but I might’. Leave that part vague if that’s the case.
· One more thing- and this is crucial- do NOT lie, fudge numbers, etc. Be honest and straightforward. A single exaggerated claim could undo the entire thing. Don’t bother exaggerating or ‘hypothesizing’ either, as in, “I might spend a million dollars in Minnesota over the next five years if the Vikings stick around!”. Again, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Don’t be the bad apple. Don’t.
That should do. Some of that might seem repetitious, but it’s important to get the point across clearly. Still, nothing longer than a single page should be necessary. A lawmaker is unlikely to have the time to read a ten-page thesis from a guy in Florida detailing his 13 year romance with the Minnesota Vikings. They will, however, have the time to read three or four paragraphs from a guy in Florida detailing how the only reason he’s going to come to Minnesota on any sort of a regular basis and spend any money would be the Vikings.
Ok, now, before we wrap this up, please be sure to read the next part- some basic letter writing tips for those of you out there who either a.) only know the internet age or b.) like me, have existed in it so deeply and for so long, that the art of writing a letter might be lost upon you. Again, something well written will carry considerably more weight than gibberish or leet-speak. If this sounds like a crash course in English 101… it is. You can bear it for the Vikings. It will be over soon.
· No short handing it. It’s ‘you’, not ‘u’. Also, internet abbreviations such as ‘LOL’, ‘BTW’, ‘FYI’, ‘IMO’, et al are NOT appropriate for this letter. Spell things out.
· Spell correctly. There are plenty of free spell check programs, as well as free word processors that include automatic spell checker, out there. Take the extra 2-3 minutes on Google to find one. I won’t lie- spelling isn’t my strongest suit. That’s why I use spell checker.
· Re-read what you have written- entirely- before actually printing or sending. Even better, get someone else to read it for you. We all have the ability to make mistakes, no matter how skilled at writing we are, especially when passion and emotion is involved. Trust me, if you read a story I’ve written and it doesn’t include typos, that is ONLY because I re-read it. (And yes, there are stories I’ve posted with typos because I was in a rush and didn’t re-read them. This isn’t something that should be thusly rushed.)
· Be polite. No insulting or being rude. Lawmakers, for better or worse, have egos. Attacking that will do you no good. Still, don’t sugar coat it either- express clearly how losing the Vikings will also cost Minnesota your out-of-state money. But ending that sentence with “you jerk” is a very, very bad idea.
· If you type and print your letter- not a bad idea as handwriting can lead to difficult in reading, difficulty in correcting mistakes, and generally takes longer- still be sure to sign it in black or blue pen. NO red, purple, yellow, etc.
· Check the format at the end of this story for a basic outline on how you should create your letter.
· One final and VERY IMPORTANT THING. I understand we all have emotions of varying degrees and intensities on this subject. However, do not forget that not only is it a TERRIBLE idea, and possibly derailing for our cause, to threaten a lawmaker- it is against the law. As in, FEDERAL law. As in, you may serve jail time for it. As in… very likely, you WILL serve jail time for it. DON’T DO THAT. Not to mention, again, one instance of that and we stand to have our ENTIRE cause derailed. The last thing we need on the news is a Minnesota legislator showing on TV a letter written by a Viking fan, from in or out state, threatening him/ her.
OK, let’s wrap this up. Here’s a basic format to follow to write a letter that looks professional enough to carry a little extra weight. We’ll end this afterwards with the mailing addresses for some key legislators as well as the Minnesota Tourism Department, and I again highly suggest you send a letter to at LEAST one legislator as WELL AS the Tourism Dept.
Ideal Letter Format:
Your Street Address
Your City, State, Zip
Your Phone Number/ Email (optional)
Dear (insert full name and title of the intended recipient): -OR- To Whom It May Concern: (For Tourism Department)
Closing Statement (i.e.- ‘Sincerely’, ‘With Regards’, etc.)
Now, the mailing addresses (good idea to top all with ‘Attn: >insert name<’):
Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers
463 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
Explore Minnesota Tourism
121 7th Place E
Metro Square, Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55101
Skol MINNESOTA Vikings!!!!