Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Letter to Joe Biden, 16 October 2008

On Oct 16, 2008, at 11:07 AM, Joe Biden wrote:
Peter --

Anyone who tells you this election is already decided is dead wrong. Let's not forget the 2000 election, when Al Gore was up by double digits in October.

The surest way to lose a race is to slow down with the finish line in sight.

We're taking no chances. We've planned the biggest get out the vote operation in history, and we need to make sure that every voter has their voice heard.

That's why we've set the goal of bringing in 100,000 new donors by Friday at midnight.

Your donation today will match that of a fellow supporter, encouraging them to step up and own a piece of this campaign.

Will you make a donation of $250 or more today and double your impact?

This campaign has fought for every inch, and now is not the time to take anything for granted.

To get out the vote, we need to knock on hundreds of thousands of doors and make even more phone calls.

This campaign has built the largest field operation in history, and we need to mobilize it in these remaining days to get every single voter to the polls on Election Day.

Because that's what it comes down to -- counting every last vote.

Make a matching donation today to make certain that when everything is on the line, we are stronger than ever:

We've come too far to hold back now.

Thank you for everything you're doing,


Paid for by Obama for America
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Hrm. Reality check? At first, I thought Joe Biden himself really did write to me. I mean, really.

Who knows? He’s a regular guy. He could have read my blog, or gotten my email from one of the articles I wrote for Global Understanding. Never know. Right?

But as I read it, I realized this was a form letter written on his behalf. Maybe he did write it. But I doubt he went to his email address list and pulled my name out specifically and sent it to me personally. It wasn’t really a reality check. It was a virtuality check.

The virtual Joe was ending up my real email box. Spam? Or an opportunity to pontificate?

When given a choice, since I was named after the first pope, I took the chance to proselytize. Here’s my letter to Joe Biden:

Dude, here's your own reality check.

I just gave $100 yesterday. By debit card.

I gave some sort of similar amount already before. I also gave money to the DNC when they called.

So far, I am a "three-fer." There is such a thing as "donor fatigue" though. Perhaps you might want to stop going back to the well?

As me for my TIME. Not just my money.

You see, Joe (and Barack), I am self-employed, while drawing no salary. AT ALL. From ANYONE.

It has been this way since 2001 when I got laid off from Cisco Systems, Inc. I had plenty of savings and stocks at the time. Over the past seven years of the Bush Administration, I have had my own "Great Depression." My own startup businesses failed repeatedly. My own relationships ended not-so-happy as I would have hoped. I still have no children of my own. I still have no wife. I had a bit of struggling income, so I could put "self-employed" down and mean it for a few months in 2006.

Other than that? Not much.

Fortunately after leaving Cisco, I had some of my own money to fall back on. I did "alright" even as others have suffered even worse than me. I sold my house in 2001 after being laid off. I just slowly wound down my businesses and liquidated my inventory.

I have been waiting for the times to change ever since George W. Bush got into office. Times began to change earlier this year. When I saw Barack Obama campaign, I started doing a lot of new things. I am fired up. I am ready to go. I am already going.

However, I am STILL functionally "occupied but drawing no salary." Which means, I have business cards but no customers. I have expenses but no income. I am professionally busy but economically unemployed.

• No unemployment checks
• No disability
• No financial assistance
• No family or friends to bail me out

I am still putting the plans on a few different business operations. Tossing out ideas to see which ones I can get funded.

Where is the money in 2008?

Rapidly leaving my pocket.

To keep friends from going homeless. To help get a new administration into office. To pay for gas to go see friends who have lost their loved ones to cancer, or to help see those suffering from illness, or to sit on the board of a non-profit that is trying to get information to cancer sufferers and those who support them.

I have put my time and money into different causes, Joe. The environment. Suicide prevention. Clean technology. Public radio. My local church, where I sing in the choir and work with the teens.

Right now, I want to make a difference in the world. A change.

Is giving you $250 going to have an ROI for me? Really, Joe. Shouldn't I save that for my own rent? Food? Perhaps the salaries of a new part-time employee?

Do you NEED my money right now Joe?

What do you want it for? How would it be disbursed?

Why not I just keep it and spend $250, or the equivalent thereof, helping out the campaign?

That would be the equivalent of 12.5 hours of my time @ $20 per hour. I used to be worth $40, or, for other jobs, $100.

12.5 hours you can have. Freely! The $250 of capital? That's asking a lot now. At least until I get some better financial security behind me. Otherwise you are driving me towards homelessness just to get elected.

So, my suggestion is:

• Have these email spam-o-grams get personalized to recognize the up-to-the-minute contributions of voters, so you...
• Don't piss them off with form letters.
• Don't even send them if you have already been hitting them up in the past week
• If you have a reasonable feeling they are hurting really badly economically, or...
• Ask them for their time and energy if they feel, for whatever reason, cannot give money, or *more* money right now.

Meanwhile, Joe, my best hope for my new enterprises is the Global Understanding Institute. You should come and check it out.

Last night after everyone else was asleep, I did an analysis of Barack Obama and John McCain's performance in their final debate. Interesting results. Not typical for debate analysis.

Joe, I am not asking for a handout. I am willing to work my butt off till all hours of the night to get work done.

But STOP hitting people up for more money when they are going flat broke. You need their votes now, Joe. Not their money. Votes are based on the voluntary garnering of FREE WILL, not burdening people with FINANCIAL COST.

Especially after I've given you three times already.

When we are in an economic hole right now, we need to be FRUGAL. Not keep throwing more money at the problem. Use brains. Email is free. Use it WISELY.

Engage people in social discourse. Take time to LISTEN to them. Not just ask for money.

You'll see me down at the campaign office, Joe. I did a lot of research last night on how the McCain campaign differs from the Obama campaign. Updated and added footnotes for Jeffery so he can fact check. Apparently they don't take my word for it. Hunh. Go figure. Apparently they trust my money "In God We Trust," but they can't trust that I'd do a good job doing fact-checking on McCain policy.

So far, they haven't paid me a red cent, either. So I'm not sure where the money is going anyway.

People are so wrapped up about the money of politics that they are sort of losing sight of the politics of politics. It's about votes. Not dollars. And hitting people up for too many dollars, makes their wallets close. Makes their smiles turn to frowns. Makes them feel like they are just being used.

Joe, don't just use me as your banker.

Tell me some facts. Tell me some figures. If I think you're doing a great job, if I know something specific I can help with, maybe then I'll take out my wallet.

However, I did get a good meal out of it last night. And the debate? Priceless! Best political experience I have ever had in my life.

I guess that was worth a $100 ticket. It was the show of a lifetime.

But please, try to find a way to not just "cold call" all your supporters Joe. Technologically recognize the contributions I made already. INCLUDING JUST YESTERDAY FOR $100.

Otherwise you'll come off like a spoiled kid asking daddy for money for more toys you don't need, while he's realizing the mortgage is going belly-up. And he looks around at all the toys you just opened and aren't playing with.

Penny wise, pound foolish.

Help me out, Joe. Really. Read this reality check in reply.

If you actually do. If this ACTUALLY gets to Joe Biden himself and he reads it?

Maybe then, Joe, I'd open that wallet and give $250. Because I want you to care, PERSONALLY, about what I am going through. And have gone through, and others like me in Silicon Valley ever since 2001. And across the country. Or, maybe, Joe, you'd read this letter, and you'd say, "No need, Pete. Put your wallet away. We'll find a way to do this on the cheap. Frugally. We don't REALLY need $250. Just show up to vote, and bring a few friends."

Until I hear back, Joe, you may find me now and then up at the Palo Alto office. Yesterday was my first day there. Finally found it. It's in a hole-in-the-wall. Drove past it a lot. If you come out here, please call me and I'll clear my day to chat to you or Barack.

Best wishes, Joe. Hope to hear back. Call me!

-Peter Corless.
650-906-3134 (mobile)

p.s. When you do take donations over the phone, please, PLEASE, have the courtesy to send a bumper sticker or a button or something substantial if someone requests it. Drove me nuts that they kept wanting my Visa card number, but they couldn't even get me a bumper sticker. The office took care of it yesterday. Very good people!

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