Sunday, June 1, 2008

Notes from an accidental fundraiser

As readers of this space know, I have ended up working rather hard to raise funds for Senator Clinton's campaign. This is not a role I expected to play this election year because I have never raised funds for anything before. Basically, like a lot of people, I hate asking people for money, even it is not money going into my own pocket.


I have been continually finding ways to ask people to donate to Senator Clinton, most recently under the banner "Denver or Bust". And I am going to keep asking people to donate unless and until Senator Clinton decides she will no longer be accepting donations. Here's why.

When I contributed to Senator Clinton myself it was long after I had reached two conclusions right at the start of the primary season. I knew from the beginning that despite some other very good candidates, Senator Clinton deserved my support because of her intelligence, qualifications, experience, and political skill. I also knew from the beginning, long before anybody was shocked by it that Senator Clinton's candidacy was going to stir the evil cauldron of misogyny present at every level and in every institution in our society. Based on these conclusions, I began talking to family and friends about why they should step up and cast a vote for Senator Clinton.

The primary season wore on. I began with a few very small dollar donations to the campaign. I made them as a show of good faith, as a deontological statement (deontological: a position or action taken because of its rightness not as a means to an end). As my conclusions about Senator Clinton's qualifications solidified and the wretched misogyny began to rear its ugly head, I made the decision to "max out" for Senator Clinton, as did my husband, my most excellent sister-in-law and her husband, and my superb mother-in-law.

Next, for a while I appealed only to family, friends, and direct acquaintances for further donations, always trying to ask politely without putting undue pressure on people.

Finally, I found myself appealing to a wider audience, via this blog and Taylor Marsh's website.

All the time, I asked others to give for the same reasons I decided to give: to show good faith and to do the right thing. Because I believe right action is the path to justice.

At this moment, I am still beating the bushes for donations to Senator Clinton, and for the same reasons. But these reasons are not just a philosopher's justification, without pragmatic considerations behind them.

Pragmatically, donations to a candidate are, apart from one's vote, one of the very best ways to support that candidate. (Some donations come in the form of money, others in the form of time phone calling or doing other things for the campaign.) Pragmatically speaking, donating means the most when the going is toughest. Deontologically speaking, donating when the going gets tough is donating at its most righteous.

So my current appeals for contributions to Senator Clinton's campaign are pragmatic second, rooted in a concern for justice first. I trust Senator Clinton. I don't know how she will handle the next few months. But I know that any funds donated to her will be used to make her the strongest political voice this country has seen in a long time. You can bet on - or donate because of - that.


Blogger Jack said...

Well said. I for one believe that we should even hold Hillary's feet to the fire if she defaults to Obama this week. If we give her enough support and enough love, she may take it all the way home.
BTW, thanks for increasing my vocabulary thesaurus. Although, I don't believe I'll be throwing deontological around much in my crowd.

June 1, 2008 at 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pragmatically speaking, donating means the most when the going is toughest. Deontologically speaking, donating when the going gets tough is donating at its most righteous."

I like that explanation. When the GF asked if it was a good idea for her to send more money to Hillary; my lame answer was "If Hillary was winning she wouldn't need our money."


June 1, 2008 at 6:25 PM  

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