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Markos, you wrote last week that you were withholding $2,300 from the Obama campaign, claiming that your individual donation didn’t matter. As if you aren’t the proprietor of an influential blog devoted to electing Democrats. As if you aren’t one of the key forces behind "people power" taking back our politics. As if many, many of your users, the ones who frequent your website and generate your ad revenue, aren’t struggling to make donations 1% the size of that.

You wrote:

At the end of the day, I'm pretty irrelevant in the whole affair. Obama is going to raise a ton of dough and win this thing whether I send him money or not.

What if even a fraction of your immense readership follows your lead? Maybe you need a refresher course in people power. I’m challenging the users of this website, thousands of people who are, in your words, "pretty irrelevant in this whole affair," (if you believe that or not!) to donate $2,300 collectively.

No matter what anyone says, we all matter, when we work together.

I must admit, I have severe ethical problems with Markos’ withholding of the donation and claim that he does not matter. I’ve always tried to live by something akin to the categorical imperative–I must only act in a way that I want all others to act as well. I must make laws for myself that I would apply to all other humans. I donate and volunteer, and I believe that everyone should donate and volunteer, as much as is feasible (and then maybe 10% more). Thus, when I see someone so influential as Markos suggest that his personal maxim is to withhold donations, I grow concerned.

Clearly Markos does not want all of us to stop donating, as he expects us to do it all for him. I guess we do matter in the grand scheme of things after all, even if he doesn’t. So while the rank-and-file users of the website matter (thanks!) our front-page blogger, proprietor, cable news guest, and now ammunition for Sean Hannity to critique the left and Obama, this person doesn’t? I call logical fallacy alert!

I don't see this as validating his notion that others will "pick up the slack." I see this rather as proving the thesis that people power does matter, and that collectively, each of us as individuals has the power to make great change in this country. For our nation, and for the world as a whole, this election is too important to sit back and not do all we can to make a difference.

Markos has the right to do with his money as he pleases. But he does not have the right to tell all of us that he doesn't matter; such that by extension none of us matter, either. That's wrong, and it cuts against what this website and all of his work stands for.

Markos, you’re the person who helped us learn that if we all work together, each of our individual contributions adds up to make an impact. I’m reminded of your commercial for your first book, Crashing the Gate. Look at all of these individual citizens, all pulling together to change our party. Yes, the metaphor applies to pressuring our elected officials. But it also applies to getting them elected in the first place, and need I remind you, the past eight years have shown how important it is to have a Democrat in the White House. We all have to do all we can to make that happen this time. If anyone’s got $2,300 they can so easily part with, well... I’ve got a pretty good idea what they can do with it.

Markos, with your donation stunt, you’re making me feel like you’re the intractable ass in that commercial.

So, let’s see if the users of this website who support Barack Obama—-even if they’re angry over FISA, or disagree with him, as I do, on a variety of issues—-can pull together and show what people power can do.

Together, we can raise the $2,300 you refuse to donate. I don’t have $2,300. I don’t even have $230. But I can donate $50, my biggest donation so far to the Obama campaign, even though I’m unemployed this summer, because I know that my individual effort combined with that of hundreds, thousands of other such individuals, we can and will make a difference.

I’m donating my $50 in the form of 750 Vote for Change stickers, to give out to volunteers and new voters registered on Austin’s Vote for Change drive, which I coordinate. Four times a week, regular citizens come out to register new voters, proving that the small efforts of individuals add up to a lot of impact. We’ve already registered over 700 people to vote, people who know that each of our individual actions matters, and can change the course of history.

I used to think that my donations didn't matter, because I couldn't give $2,300 or even close. But then I saw thousands of people donating, many from this very website, and I realized that it does matter. It adds up. Collectively, we're stronger than any one person lucky enough to consider $2,300 a trifle.

For a $5 donation we can each enter for a chance to watch Barack Obama’s historic speech accepting his nomination in Denver, along with over 75,000 people. Those tens of thousands, and the hundreds of thousands that have joined in Obama rallies across the country represent people power, too. And we're ready to do all we can to take back our democracy.

Barack Obama says, right on the top center of his campaign website, "I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I’m asking you to believe in yours." That means all of us who read this blog. It means everyone who doesn’t read this blog but is still invested in taking our country back. It means Markos, too.

So, who’s with me? Who’s willing to chip in to raise $2,300, or even more? More than any one individual is legally allowed to give to a campaign? Let’s make a statement that no matter what any pundits, Beltway insiders, or even prominent bloggers would have you believe, we all do matter, and together we’re going to make a difference.  

Get Involved.

Update, 12:20 p.m. CST: So far I've counted $1,068 in donations as stated in the comments. Now that's people power. Keep it going!

Update, 12:41 p.m. CST: Make that $2,460. Talk about a people-power-hour! But I'm sure you're not going to stop now, are you?

Update, 1:13 p.m. CST: Now I've got $3,677 total on my spreadsheet tally. That's fantastic! Thanks for your generosity, and your willingness to prove that our individual actions add up. Don't stop!

Update, 1:28 p.m. CST: Jeepers. I did one last swing through the comments, and we're up to $4,708. That's phenomenal. I'm a big believer in people power, but y'all still manage to amaze me. Stay on it!

Update, 5:05 p.m. CST: By my count we've got $7,190 in the comments, plus plenty of others who are donating but have not specified an amount. Thanks all of you for kicking in, especially those who have to budget to give $5.

Update: 8:46 p.m. CST: I've got $9,281 as our updated total. Not a bad haul for one day! Thanks to all who donated, whether you had to dig deep for that $5 or are eager to donate several hundred. Every individual donor matters!

One comment, then I have to go get some work done. If you don't want to donate to Obama I respect that, but there's no excuse for total apathy. There are folks down below contributing to the ACLU, their Congressional candidates, the DNC and DSCC, all sorts of stuff. Those donations matter too -- the point here is that our actions matter. None of us is irrelevant in our democratic process, no matter how we choose to act.

Originally posted to kath25 on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 09:41 AM PDT.

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