Today is a day to address criticism and attempt to fashion a workable solution to it.
Arlene Violet, in her role as a political commentator, has indicated that this campaign cannot succeed without funding. Her position was that to not take any campaign contributions was misguided in that it would prevent the sincerely honest people who want to donate to be a part of the change from feeling they could send in a few bucks to support us.
I agree with Arlene that there are good people out there who would be happy to send in ten dollars or so and not really expect a favor in return, but I would prefer not to have even the appearance that even such a small contribution would make.
Arlene surely knows that I am very principled and unlikely to start taking contributions, and, in the political world, she may well be correct.
This presents an issue: Does a person change position on a matter?
I have clearly and unequivocally stated during many public appearances that I would not be accepting campaign contributions. It is not that I think that everyone is evil. Some people would put money to a campaign because they actually want good government. I understand this.
But a nose under the tent is the source of destruction. I have no intention of turning away from my position of not taking campaign funds for my campaign. It is my pledge and to change from it would mean that I am just like every other politician who takes a stand only to change at the first opportunity to do so.
So, what does the campaign do in this situation? You have a colleague, fellow attorney (we often joked with each other as to which one of us has done the most pro bono legal work), and a political analyst giving you sage advice. You agree with what she has stated in that you need to encourage participation by the public. What do you do?
I have been moving this question in my mind since I heard it. I think I have a solution that provides a win-win situation.
I will ask that people host fund raisers, just not for me. I will offer to attend a fund raiser, where time and schedule allows, hosted by a group looking to raise funds for worthy causes such as veterans, the homeless, education promotion, and other causes.
Such fund raisers are common in political cycles, except that they are usually an opportunity to have the candidate accost you for a donation to the campaign. The candidate meets with you and discusses issues, but the reality is that it is a façade. People feel they have participated because they have met the candidate, but it did cost them.
Under the proposed scenario, the charity will benefit from the donations, but the candidate will have the opportunity to speak with voters individually. It is the same as a typical fund raiser except insofar as where the money goes.
I will benefit in that the fund raiser will allow me to meet directly with the people, but instead of the funds raised going to me for self-promoting campaign ads and such, it will go completely to a charity in the form of a donation.
I will personally attend and buy a ticket to the event. I will be available to speak either formally or informally.
If people want to support me, they can do so by meeting with me for charity.
Also, in an effort to promote the campaign, we are speaking with various local merchants to produce our campaign materials (yard signs, stickers, t-shirts, and other items). They will produce them in volume and will make them available to the public at cost.
In doing so, people would have to show their support for my campaign by purchasing the various support items directly instead of sending money to my campaign and have me spend it on the same items.
In doing this, people can show their support for the campaign, support local merchants, and get the traditional campaign materials. In short, they can make a small donation by purchasing a yard sign or sticker or shirt.
While this concept is somewhat novel, at least these supporters are not wasting their donations on negative television ads, annoying mail, or robo-calling. They will know exactly where their funds are going and they will personally have made an effort to support the campaign. They have taken the step to change this system. They have participated in the cerebral revolution.
The exact particulars of these novel ideas are being worked out, and, with luck, they will be posted on our various sites for our supporters.
While this is a new idea, it could prove one that makes traditional campaigning appear as the self-promotional waste of money that it really is.
If you have ideas related to this concept, please get them to the campaign. We are always open to suggestions. As you can see by this digression from the campaign journal, it is worthwhile to stop and listen to those offering criticism. At times it is constructive.
Had Arlene never brought this to our attention, we would have missed a great opportunity to experiment with changing the way the system operates.