Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Phil Campbell Headshot

Tell Me What to Do, Part 2

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Last week I wrote a post with the blunt headline, "Obama Wants My Donation: Tell Me What to Do." In it I threw it to HuffPost readers to, well, tell me what to do. Obama's campaign keeps calling me to ask for a donation. Do I give one?

OK, let's get to your comments. I'm not going to get into the more random reactions from my blog post, other than to say that the suggestion to "Have some cake?" is absolutely out, as I am allergic to both eggs and dairy. Don't poison me, bro. I just started this blogging gig.

The most popular answer surprised me. "Donate to whatever activist group you feel is doing the most good," wrote Anym, a comment that won 845 votes. This makes perfect sense; if you want change, don't rely on individual politicians to do your bidding, get behind activist groups who will apply pressure for positive change.

Fine logic, but why was it the most popular? Have others given up hope on affecting national politics? It's advice I often follow myself, but, hell, this is an election year. I need that fix that comes with giving to a flesh-and-blood candidate, not just an idea. I want to bask, however briefly, in the feeling that I'm doing something good, right now. Because that's what elections are all about; there's a result every time they hold one. They can get the blood running, at least if you're into that sort of thing.

Opposing Anym is the commenter Dakotadem, who wrote, "Just consider the alternative -- a corporate whipping boy who will undo anything Obama has been able to accomplish with one party whose only goal was to make sure he accomplished nothing."

I do wonder how bad a Romney presidency would be. On his own, Mr. Etch a Sketch could conceivably be as moderate as the first George Bush, who in retrospect wasn't half bad, at least compared to today's Republicans. Today's Republicans -- not my conservative friends, mind you, but the party hacks that run D.C. and the various state offices -- are vicious and fanatical. They eat their own moderates and unthinkingly oppose whatever the Democrats are doing, regardless of what it is. Seriously, when did compromise become such an ugly word for the right?

And Romney has to please his party, because, if he won, he would have those Republicans to thank.

So a Romney presidency unnerves me, which is why I'm tempted to give to Obama.

But I'm also eager to give locally, because local activism is what got me into alternative-weekly journalism years ago, it's what got me to manage a friend's city council campaign in Seattle in 2001, the story of which is told in my book and in the film Grassroots.

But I'm also broke. Like, flat broke. I know my answer, but it's moot right now, in any case, because as it turns out I don't have the money to give. Call it a cop-out, until you see my kid's daycare expenses. They are positively killing me. I'll have to see what I've got left over in a few paychecks before I attempt to compete with the Citizens United decision. If I do recover financially in time, I'll post the decision on my personal website.

If a candidate is really in need of my money, he can find me at The Strand on Broadway and 12th Street next Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. I'll be reading from Grassroots there.

And, Anym and Dakotadem, if you're in New York City this week, send me an email through my website, I'll get free tickets for you for the film Grassroots for the evening screening that I'll be attending on July 13. You are both welcome to join me and some other folks afterwards for a drink in the East Village. We can talk about the decision that I would like to make, but don't have the money for, in person.

A sincere thanks to everyone for their input.