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Threat Level Red

By Diane Wahto
Opinion | June 29, 2012

WICHITA, Kan. - Political solicitation e-mails stream into my inbox on a daily basis. Most of these e-mails ask me to donate money. Some want me to call or send pre-written e-mails to my congressmen or sign petitions. I'm always asked to forward the information to friends.

I'm sure many of these e-mail solicitations are familiar to others who have donated to liberal causes in the past. Conservatives probably get the same type of e-mails, with a right-wing slant. I've decided the whole purpose os these e-mails is to raise red flags for those of us who take our politics way too seriously. Below is a sample of what I found today after being away from my computer for only a couple of hours:

  • Walmart Watch--Forced Labor in the US?
  • Alternet--Will you stand with us and commit to ensuring that health care reform is here to stay? Donate $3 or more today.
  • Diane -- We won a huge victory with this morning's ruling, but the fight is still on. Rush Limbaugh has already called on Republicans to "defeat these bastards" and "wipe them out."
  • We're under 48 hours until the FEC deadline, and your contribution is absolutely critical to supporting President Obama and health care reform. $600,000 left to go. Please click here to give $5 right now -Barbara Boxer
  • AFL-CIO--Tell President Obama to Make Trade Fair
  • MoveOn--Romney will repeal Obamacare--Chip in $10.
  • True Majority--Just like in our contest, both candidates are essentially tied in their races for Congress. If we want to take back the House this fall, we need to help them win again. With a critical end of quarter deadline on Saturday, they need your donation today.
  • Emily's List--We may not be able to match what they spend dollar for dollar, but if we dig deep, we can raise enough to help our women compete. The right can outspend us, but they'll never outwork us, and they'll never outsmart us!
  • Women's E-News--JUST 2 DAYS LEFT: Give Today And We Will Reach Our Goal
  • Shelley Berkley for Senate--It is crucial that Shelley's campaign reach their $100,000 goal before midnight tomorrow. This is one exam we can't afford to fail.
  • Can you please donate $10 or more to help us recruit Bradley Manning supporters to contact their local media outlets with Facebook and Google ads?

Don't get me wrong. I think these are all worthy causes. I would love to give tons of money to President Obama and Bradley Manning and Shelley Berkley and NARAL and Emily's List. However, I am, as are many of us, living on a tight budget. If I gave to just half the causes that came across cyberspace, my husband and I would have to give up eating.

Recently I found myself increasingly anxious with every urgent e-mail I received. Each one contained words specifically aimed at raising my psyche to threat level red. I had an image of alarms going off several times a day. Finally, one day, I had enough. That's the day I decided to ignore all the e-mail pleas. In order to do that and still maintain my sanity, I have chosen a small number of local political races to concentrate on. In the meantime, I have set about deleting each solicitation e-mail as it appeared in my inbox.

What a relief! I no longer have the sense that events are out of control, or at least out of my control. After all, we have little ability to control what happens in the larger world. I think back to the Wisconsin public employee protests against Gov. Scott Walker. I got extremely caught up in that, so much so that I ordered a pizza from the Madison pizza parlor that was providing the protesters with pizza. I called, I wrote, I think I even donated some money to their cause. I believed something positive was going to come out of that uproar.

Then what happened? Democrats elected a gubernatorial candidate who had already lost to Walker once instead of the strong union-backed candidate, and the Democrats lost again--well, not entirely. They were able to get one Democrat elected to the Wisconsin Senate, which is enough to stop Walker's worst offenses. But the damage has been done, there's no turning back, and my small contribution had little impact.

What I must concentrate on right now is getting good people elected to the Kansas Legislature in order to put a halt to Sam Brownback's Koch-backed agenda. In doing that, I am focusing on only a few candidates because I have neither time nor energy -- nor money -- to help more than that.

My psyche's threat level has moved back down to normal levels, the alarm bells have stopped ringing, and I'm satisfied that I'm doing what I can to bring good government back to Kansas, where I do have some control over what happens. If nothing else, I can always give a little to the Kansas Humane Society. I know my donation will do some good there.


2 Comments

" and I'm satisfied that I'm doing what I can to bring good government back to Kansas, " Good for you! Democracy only works if the people speak up, not only with words but also with resources.

We all have to decide what issues demand our priorities, according to our time and resources available.


Thanks, Ken. I'm happy to see the comments sign-in is now working. It feels like we're writing in a vacuum without the comments.

I definitely had to set priorities. Otherwise, I felt like I was all over the place and accomplishing nothing.


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