As readers of this occasional blog have probably figured out, I donated more than I could afford to give to both of President Obama's campaigns and served as a volunteer in both campaigns; but I am a very disgruntled supporter because of (a) his poor to mediocre performance, and (b) his failure to ask for input from his supporters -- a failure that I sincerely believe contributed to his poor to mediocre performance.
His political machine abused the Internet for the last six years by constantly whining for donations, yet never finding out which issues his contributors really cared about and why they cared. The all-to-apparent assumption of the wise guys who cranked out his e-spam was that their recipients were just walking piggy banks -- brainless low lifes who packed inexhaustible credit cards in their tummies. Therefore their emails "motivated" us dimwitted piggies by demonizing the GOP, reducing all issues to cries that we had to band together to fight unprecedented evil as personified by Boehner, Rove, and the Koch Brothers. They ignored the fact that Internet 2.0+ facilitates two-way communications.
They never asked which issues we piggy banks really cared about and why we cared about these issues ... so they never learned the issues for which we would be most likely to cough up our credit cards ... until this evening when I received an email whose text was so shocking that I had to read it three times before I was sure that I wasn't seeing a digital mirage:
|The final tally is in: we had our BEST AUGUST EVER for online donations. Thanks everyone! Now, we’re asking for 1 more thing: your opinion.|
What’s your #1 issue?"
As goes the Chines proverb, a journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step ... even a baby step like this one. Of course, this particular baby step is laden with implicit insults to us piggy banks. One issue. One issue. That's all we get. Hey, we're piggy banks!!! How could we possibly cope with a complex political agenda that might involve four or five orthogonal concerns that could never be reduced to a single issue. But stop. Savor the moment. They actually asked for my opinion for the first time in six years and, presumably, for the opinions of thousands, perhaps millions of their other supporters ... Oh well ... better late then never ...
... but earlier might have made this administration far more effective ... and therefore might have made the U.S. of A. a far better place for blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, poor people, gays, the elderly, and all of the other "less than equal" groups within our society. The opportunity costs of President Obama's congenital incapacity to listen to what his supporters really cared about and why they cared about these issues has been incalculable.