Being in touch with her, incidentally, isn't that simple. She has a slow internet connection because it's cheap. She doesn't log on every day. Her house and ranch are several miles down a dirt road. The nearest town is not much more than a gap in the road, but it's THE megalopolis for miles in every direction.
The worst thing is when I learned that she had stopped bothering to vote years ago. She thought politicians were all slimy and didn't want anything to do with them. She ignored them. I had many a talk with her when she visited me. She may want to ignore the politicians, I told her, but they continue to have an effect on her life. Gradually she came around. I made some sort of bargain in 2003 - I forget what it was - that if I did a certain task, she would register to vote. I did it, she registered. We played the game a bit longer. I had to complete some other task before she would vote. I did it, and she voted for Kerry and Schweitzer.
When Tester came on the scene I talked him up like crazy. (She does NOT go blogging online. Email... that's about it.) I told her some points about Tester that she could share with the conservative folks in her area that I felt would appeal to them.
My friend lives very simply and has very little spare money. She recycles, re-uses, puts up windmills, feeds electricity back into the grid, etc. She says the local folks are environmentalists without realizing it because they really care for the land. I said her duty is to help them understand that environmentalists are not freaky tree-huggers but people they share some goals with. She says the locals hate having to depend on farm subsidies; I said that these people need to learn they are on welfare, just like poor people in big cities. Sure, they work hard - so do most poor people.
In 2004, 45 people in her county voted for Kerry.
Yesterday, 98 people in her county voted for Tester.
A small step in the right direction!