A handwritten postcard arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago from a Biden volunteer named Brittany. The fact that she had taken the time to personalize that card made me go online and make a contribution. So I know from experience that such handwritten communications really do make a difference. Lenny shares something we can do from our homes that has the potential to make a significant difference in the November election. I’m pretty good at signing online petitions (I have my doubts about their efficacy but figure it can’t hurt) but I’m not so good at going the extra mile and committing to writing personalized letters. I think it’s time.
Something hopeful and do-able
by Lenny Felder, Los Angeles, California
One of the things that has been keeping me sane the past 4 months (and for the next 3 months and 24 days) is being part of Vote Forward and writing personal letters to Registered Dems in Swing States who sometimes don’t vote and sometimes do vote. If just 3% more of these Registered Dems vote this time than in 2016, we will retake the White House and the Senate, as well as adding seats in the House.
I spend 20 minutes a day. Love those 20 minutes. (A more reasonable human would spend 20 minutes a week, but since the nightmare of November 2016, I am not reasonable.)
So far, Vote Forward has compiled almost 3 million letters of their 10 million goal by October. It’s called “The Big Send.” They even have a return address in the state where the letters are going so you have anonymity.
To be part of Vote Forward’s very practical approach (much better than knocking on doors or making phone calls because no one wants someone knocking on the door or making unsolicited calls this year), they only ask you to set up a password and answer a couple of questions to make sure you aren’t a robot or a Putin.
Each day, you get to choose which district you want for your personalized letters. You can pick Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and others. I have been choosing Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina and Arizona, states where there is a Republican Senator who currently trails the Democratic challenger. Each Registered Dem who sometimes doesn’t vote—but does in 2020—means a crucial vote for flipping those states from red to blue.
I especially love Iowa Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield who has the best 30 second ads about growing up on a farm where there were “No Girl Chores or Boy Chores, Just Work to Do,” and how at 24, she lost her husband, but Social Security saved her family and she looks in the camera and says that when Senator Joni Ernst wants to give bailouts to Wall Street and cut Social Security, “For me, it’s personal.” If you want to feel some hope, Google Theresa Greenfield and click on her videos.
At first I was writing four sentences on each letter about my dad growing up in a country where he couldn’t vote or pursue his dream and so on and on. But my hand got tired, so now I just write one sentence under “Why I Vote”: “I learned in 2016 that when good people don’t vote, the most horrible leadership wins by a very narrow margin.”
At first, I was using a box of red envelopes we had in a drawer. Aloni walked in and said, “Dad, don’t be stupid. You look like a Trumper with those red envelopes.” She’s correct as usual. So I went to Amazon and got sea blue envelopes and goldenrod pages. Much better.
Speaking for myself, just writing the letters is healing. I hope it will be for the whole country.