This past summer, Congress and President Obama suddenly panicked about “our children” and “our children’s children.” This was their fear:
Maybe in 20 or 30 years, we will have failed to pay the same bills we have failed to pay for the last 10 years, and if we don’t drastically and immediately cut spending, we will “saddle” untold numbers of people not yet born with a terrible fate, and this fate will be worse than any spending cut consequences endured by anybody already in existence.
During interviews and press conferences, members of Congress would respond to questions of all kinds by invoking “our children’s children.” Had a reporter asked, “Senator, So-&-So, why did you vote against the resolution to designate a National Labradoodle Appreciation Day?” the answer likely would have been (through gritted teeth), “I cannot condone saddling our children’s children, with our national debt! What the American people want …”
To avoid possibly burdening “our children’s children” in 20 years or more, it was imperative to prioritize the elimination of our national debt and put aside lesser problems, like war and hunger, that exist in the here and now.
I started thinking about how the endless “children” references could be used to raise money for good causes – like organizations helping the one in four U.S. children currently suffering from hunger.
Hypothetical example: Organization Good Cause asks its constituents to commit to donating a set amount of money each time their U.S. representative says “our children’s children” at the upcoming town hall meeting. To publicize its fund drive and generate momentum, it recruits a rich, famous person to pledge $1000 for each “children” reference. Two-hundred people who read about the fund drive in the paper each pledge an average of $2 per “children” reference. At the town hall, the representative makes 10 such references. Good Cause generates $14,000.
But then, concern for “our children” abruptly disappeared, and with it, my fundraising idea … until Congress and President Obama discovered the job shortage in the U.S. and used it as an excuse to push deregulation, or free trade, or tax breaks, or a combination thereof (depending on who’s pushing). (Exploiting a real policy problem to tout - ad nauseum - a corporate agenda is what I call “committing a nauseum”).
This is not only an opportunity to call out leaders for pushing fake solutions to a real problem; this is an opportunity for the right (small "r") organization to raise money. This is an opportunity for the Occupy groups. Here’s a hypothetical example, using Occupy Seattle:
· Occupy Seattle (OS) asks people to commit to making a set donation each time - between 10/24 and 10/31 - either President Obama or any of the seven Republican presidential candidates commits a nauseum in any of the daily updates on their campaign or government websites.
· OS gets the word out about its fund drive and generates buzz: OS mentions the fund drive in interviews with media, finds a rich famous person to make the first pledge, uses social media, …
· OS sets up its website so that a visitor to the site can:
- Sign up to participate in the fund drive and electronically “send” donations;
- Get daily updates on: number of fund drive participants, number of nauseums committed, and amount of money raised so far; and
- Find out how OS will use (and has used) funds it raises.
Occupy-ers (wherever you are), if you have a website, a webmaster, and maybe a famous person among your supporters, you could be on your way to raising money for those tents, first-aid kits, umbrellas, tarps, sleeping bags, rain ponchos...