Saturday, March 3, 2012

Counting Your Blessings

I got another one of those begging e-mails from the Obama campaign, offering to put my name in a lottery for dinner with the President and two or three other lucky winners if I donate at least $3 to his coffers. Usually I just delete them, but this one was allegedly from one of my potential co-winners, one Janet from Accokeek, MD.

"What a blessing," it began. "Two days ago I learned that I'm going to have dinner with President Obama."

A blessing? I guess God -- or the President; I mean, aren't they basically the same? -- just reached down from above and chose her. And there's more. Janet's folksy 86-year-old father Milton, played by Will Geer, contributed some words of wisdom:
"Janet," my dad said, "You gotta start supporting President Obama. Support your politicians. Support the President, so that your voice can be heard."

"I do support the President," I told him.

"Prove it."

Well, here I am.
And here I am. The trouble is, I don't support President Obama. I never have. And we've learned a lot about him since 2008. That was when we heard about a campaign that was being funded by ordinary citizens like you and me, just giving what we could, instead of the big-money special interests. A campaign that won an industry award for marketing savvy. And since then, I haven't noticed the President hanging out much with the little donors. Sure, he (or rather his staff) stages these town meetings where he gives his supporters a dressing-down for their lack of faith (when the son of Barack comes, will he find faith on earth?), or evades their questions or merely doesn't hear them: they're just launching pads for the answers he's prepared. He does find time for afternoons of golf with the bigger donors, though what is said on those afternoons is not said for the benefit of TV cameras. So, how exactly will my voice be heard if I give $3, or even more? If a gift is given to a Presidential campaign where no one but the computers take notice, does it say anything?

Janet (or the Obama campaign's ghostwriters) weren't finished trying to tug my heartstrings, though.
I donated because I want a president who cares enough about his supporters to sit down for a meal, just like we do in our own families.
Can you imagine what would happen if the President sat down for a meal at a table with me? It doesn't bear thinking about. I'd just ruin it for the other nice, randomly-chosen people. My voice doesn't need to be heard. (What do you think he'd call me? "Old man", as he called someone "young woman" the other day when she called him on the carpet about Iran? No, I'm sure he wouldn't, and not just because I'm a decade older than he is. Not "sweetie" either. But I'm also sure he'd be testy about my harshing the vibe. Maybe he'd send me to bed without my supper. Maybe he'd send predator drones after me, I won't even see them coming.)

There probably are families which sit down for a meal together only once in two years, during the election season; we hear a lot about such families in our degenerate times. It's not a sign of caring, to my mind. But I can't believe there are many which decide which members will be seated at the table by a lottery, after they've given a minimal donation. I know, I'm being cynical.
And because I was anxious to support the President's campaign. It was my time to give.
Janet from Accokeek, MD, has done more than her part to support the President's campaign: not only has she given money, she's let herself be used to draw in more suckers. To have been a fly on that wall! If my name had been drawn, would they have tried to get me to put my name on the next begging e-mail?