I received this email from a group working to support an upcoming congressional candidate.
We just went over our records and it looks like we haven’t received your 2013 contribution yet.
We hate to be so blunt, but we’re still short of our goal and there’s only a few hours left. If we’re going to compete with all the special interests and all the outside cash next year, we have to finish 2013 with a bang….
Suggested Year-End Donation: $3.00
Seriously!?(Yep, I felt two punctuation marks was appropriate.) I am not even entirely sure where to being with my indignation. So…I guess, let me start here:
#1 I did not sign up to support this man–or any politician, or to support any particular political organization. I have no obligation to support him ideologically or financially (although, I am fond of very little of what his opponent has done while in office). This group has no right to ask me for money in a manner that implies my donation is obligatory, and I am currently failing them. That being said, if I had been interested in giving money–this email deters any former inclination toward financial generosity.
#2 Yes, I hope they can compete with special interest groups, but in reality–it all feels sort of inconsequential because what we really need is severe political finance reform. (But why would congress choose to regulate itself to the detriment of individuals’ personal political and monetary gains?)
#3 His political party affiliation and political leanings are essentially irrelevant in why I am frustrated with this email. The fact is, my $3 will do clearly do nothing for him. Yes, $3 isn’t much, but when facing the uncertainty of the severe military downsizing of 2014, I am sure $3 means a lot more to me than any politician. I am sure like most (all?) politicians he can find funding from wealthy private citizens, corporations with a vested influence in his political career and super PACs.
#4 Our entire political system is so tremendously broken, and my contribution doesn’t help to make this system any more fair or representative of the needs of average American citizens. I would prefer any financial donations I choose to make go to charitable organization that can do something more relevant to improve the lives of humans and nice furry creatures.
As 2013 came to an end, my inbox was flooded with requests for donations from various organizations to support issues I truly do find important and socially relevant. Although, I can’t help but be discouraged by the knowledge that my $3 is really nothing–I mean nothing, when stacked against the vast marketing/media campaigns and unlimited corporate funds working against those organizations. I do donate to several charitable organizations because I can afford to (and if I can help others in need, I should–in fact, I should probably give more than I do), and even when it is small a small contribution, I want to help when I can. My point is, I don’t make that much money, and the money I make should go to something working to genuinely make our society better. I am pretty disillusioned and no, I don’t think congress is working for the best interest of the vast majority of Americans.
I would prefer my donations go to help veterans or hard-working humans still struggling to get enough food, because, you know–congress clearly isn’t helping with that.