Dear Senator Warren,
In answer to your campaign’s online survey question: “Is there anything else you’d like to share about why you’re in this fight?”
Yes, there is. I am in this fight for regularity. For predictability. If I were to put it in a campaign slogan, it would be this: Make Public Service Boring Again.
And to get there, I want to put in a small request: Please give us, your supporters, two choices for the emails we receive from your campaign, as follows.
1) Keep getting fundraising emails the way everyone has always done them. Emails sent unpredictably, at random hours on random days. Emails from unpredictable senders (“Elizabeth Warren,” “Warren HQ,” “Team Warren”). Emails with a chance to be one of 224 donors from Ohio today, or with a request to meet this fiscal quarter’s fundraising goal, or with a favor, Thomas, to give even more than you already have done—even though at my age, and with two kids and a mortgage, and with our tight budgeting, I have already given precisely how much money I can.
2) Start receiving a new, secondary email campaign, one like no one has ever done before. (No one that I’m aware of, I should say.) Emails that are always sent from the same sender. Emails that are always sent at the exact same time once a week, like a magazine (say, Fridays at 10:00 a.m.). The Elizabeth Warren Good News Friday Digest. Emails that are a campaign diary, essentially; emails that are a summary of Senator Warren’s previous week. Possible additions at the end could include events in the following week that we can attend, and/or a list of follow-up concrete actions that we Warren supporters can take.
And then maybe—just maybe—a postscript. Not a grid of multiple pre-populated ActBlue buttons. A PS with just one maybe-give-whatever-else-you-can donate button.
Getting back to your campaign’s online survey: I want all the things on the list in the survey of “the issues that matter most to [me]”: from campaign finance reform to corporate accountability, from jobs to nuclear non-proliferation to universal child care. All of it.
But I also I want to have the confidence now that in 2050, we’ll have the confidence that civilization itself might have a shot of making it to 2100.
In our current political spectrum, this would be called liberal. But to me, it’s cold-hearted conservative capitalism: I want money and trade and capital and banks and voting American citizens all to continue to exist in 2100. I want elected representatives to still exist in 2100. I want there to still be people saying “Oh look, can you believe it’s 2100, and these blueberries are delicious, and boy the Green New Deal and President Warren’s Green Marshall Plan were such good ideas, and also I have to walk the dog” in 2100.
I want there to still be dogs and blueberries and spoken language in 2100.
I would like regularity and predictability at the large scale and the small scale, the epochal and the daily. The regularity and predictability of the world continuing to exist, instead of the deadly chaos of climate denialism. The regular, predictable positivity of scheduled magazine-like emails, rather than the deadly chaos of the unpredictable tweets of a madman.
My cautious, tired, middled-aged and middle-class dreams might seem contrary to those of “Dream Big, Fight Hard, Live Proud.” But I think they’re one and the same. They’re both about love.
Living from love—not from toxic narcissism.
In addition to the unpredictability of campaign emails, the strategies of Democratic candidates all too often seem like inside-baseball panic. I remember a call I received from a fundraiser who yelled “We’ve got to stop these Republicans!” at me right before I hung up.
But we don’t stop something by trying to stop something. We make something wither by starting something better. We don’t stop people from wallowing in the spiritual gutter of a nihilistic death cult by yelling “That’s bad! You should feel bad about yourself for wallowing!” We draw our fellow Americans’ better angels up and away from the death cult by calling to them from Dr. King’s Beloved Community, from JFK’s—and Reagan’s—City upon a Hill.
We stop something bad by starting something much better. Something good.
You, Senator Warren, are starting something.
Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that, goes your slogan. Yes we can, went Barack Obama’s slogan. I voted for Obama because I felt like I was helping to build something, not stop something. I feel the same way about your campaign now.
Plans, not reactions. Collaborations, not fomented divisions. Steady progress, not strategic chaos. Partial victories, not the angry purity of “We’ve got to stop these Republicans!” FDR’s Fireside Chats, not the Stephen Miller strategy of an exhausting blizzard of hatred and lies—a strategy from a man who seemingly read Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism as an instruction manual.
Back again to emails: I’m not saying get rid of email strategy choice #1 entirely (“Can you give another $5 before midnight, Thomas?”).
But please consider also giving us the optional email strategy choice #2: the Elizabeth Warren Good News Friday Digest. Give it a shot!
Instead of thousands of us clicking “unsubscribe” to get rid of the email strategy choice #1 emails altogether, some—or even a lot—of those of us who react badly to unpredictability might stick around. And by sticking around, and by feeling good about all the good news in the President Warren Good News Friday Digest emails, and by having the calm feeling of regularity and predictability, and the feeling of an industrious and thrifty nation working together in a steady way toward shared goals, then we might just also click on the “PS please donate” link and give more money to the campaign.
Thank you for considering it, and thank you for being such an inspiration.