Let’s pretend, just for today, that this blog is a meeting of a twelve-step program:
“I’m Ilana, and I have an online addiction.”
It’s not buying used watches on Ebay. It’s not Farmville (been there, done that). It’s not watching Stupid Cat Trick videos on YouTube.
I fear I’ve become addicted to making online political contributions.
Here we are entering the thick of the election season. And things have not been looking good for us blue-state, pro-choice, pro-environment, liberal Democrat types. Every day brings another headline about how Republican candidates are raising unprecedented amounts of corporate money. Or how almost one out of five Americans persist in bizarrely believing that President Obama is a Muslim. Or how polls show independent voters supporting Republican over Democratic Congressional candidates by a 13-point margin, the biggest such tilt since 1981.
And so what do I do when emails show up in my box asking for money for Democrats?
I click and give.
It’s so easy, sitting here at my computer all day while trying to revise my novel. I don’t have to write a check, don’t have to address an envelope. Just click.
I guess some people have this problem with buying consumer stuff online. They get emails from Amazon, or Zappos, or Lands’ End offering all sorts of deals and they click and buy. Me, I delete all those offers.
Instead I click and spend:
- $100 today to reelect Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. (Feingold in trouble? What are we coming to?)
- $200 on Monday to help J Street reelect three pro-Israel, pro-peace Democrats.
- $200 last week to MoveOn.org to support a bunch of progressive Congressional candidates.
This is on top of money I gave to the Barbara Boxer campaign last spring to take my daughter to a fundraiser featuring Obama.
Yikes! Enough already! Sam and Becca may not get any Chanukah presents this year at the rate I’m going.
Thinking about it, maybe this is a bit of pent-up demand. I wasn’t allowed to make political contributions all those years that I was a newspaper reporter. So now I’m going overboard at a chance to put my money where my mouth is.
And rationally, I know I’m probably panicking more than I should. The upside of all the frightening news about the Republican resurgence is that it may energize Democrats and the left. Hopefully there are a ton of people like me right now who are making $50, $100, or even $10,000 contributions, and who will get themselves and their friends to the polling booths in November.
And maybe all these extreme Tea Party types who are taking over the GOP will alienate moderate voters. The Democrats will keep their majority in the Senate, lose less than they fear in the House, and we can move forward with things like fighting climate change, fostering renewable energy, regulating the finance industry in a way that serves consumers, and encouraging a culture of religious and social tolerance in the U.S.
Then I can check myself into a rehab for recovering online-political-contribution addicts.
Meanwhile, I click.