I’m used to requests for money. And very good at ignoring them.
My alma mater has been trying to ask me for cash for a couple of weeks now, but they haven’t managed it because I have call display on my phone and don’t answer. They don’t leave a message. I expect that soon they will give up until the next fundraising campaign.
On my walk to Parliament Hill most mornings I see people begging, usually in front of coffee shops. I don’t give to them either. I figure if they are in real need they can get help from several different local agencies – and I do support those financially. I will admit to being a little leery of panhandlers, wondering if the need is genuine; I prefer to direct my funds to people I trust.
So it was very easy to ignore the begging email I got from Ben Carson. You may have heard of him – he’s a doctor who wants to be President of the United States. Turns out he needs my financial help, just like the guy in front of the coffee shop.
He has hired 65 new campaign workers in Iowa where the first caucus is being held for the 2016 election on Feb. 1. (I’d explain the difference between caucuses and primaries and the rest of the American electoral system, but I don’t want to put you to sleep.) Bottom line is, those campaign workers need to be paid, so Ben Carson wants my help. He wants me to “dig deep” if I believe in him and “our shared vision for a more hopeful America.”
Sorry Ben. I know you are a physician, a Republican and you are not Donald Trump, which is appealing in a way. But I’m not going to contribute to your campaign. I’m not even sure such a donation would be legal. In Canada only Canadians can contribute to an election campaign. I guess the email list you purchased to use for your appeal isn’t limited to Americans. I don’t want you to get in trouble with whomever regulates your elections, so I won’t be donating. (Who am I kidding, I know he US has almost no election regulations – I don’t know if I believe in Ben Carson or if he and I share a vision for anything. I’ve read a bit about the man, but haven’t followed his campaign at all closely. Then again, since I don’t have a vote in the contest it really doesn’t matter. So what’s my point?
I am a big proponent of citizen involvement. In Canadian elections I am usually a volunteer, having done everything from dropping literature in mailboxes to managing campaigns. It can be a lot of fun, until election night (and even that is fun if you win). You know what they say, if you didn’t vote you have no right to complain about the outcome.
But I want to challenge you to go beyond that. Ben Carson isn’t the only candidate looking for money and volunteers, and the US isn’t the only place where they have elections. Why not get actively involved with one political party or another? Why not take an active part and help strengthen democracy? You (and the country) will be better for it.