From :
Direct Communication, the antidote to corporate communications Michael Jensen, November 8, 2004
We have had enough of broadcast, it seems to me.

We have had enough of PAC-roots drives -- though ACT, MoveOn, and others did fabulous work before (and will need to do such work again).

We have had enough of centralized coordination. Unfortunately, it is single-voiced. What we need (dare I say it) is more nuanced activism.

We need person-to-person contact. I experimented with this in the waning days of the 2004 campaign in PA. I wrote an impassioned letter to an imaginary religious conservative, and had a friend of mine send me some phone-book pages from a conservative area in Pennsylvania.

I hand-addressed, and hand-stamped, and hand-"Dear John"-ed eighty-eight letters, in mid-October. I paid for the stamps myself, got the addresses myself, and sent the letters by hand.

It seemed to me that I respond differently to hand-addressed letters. I open them with a different mindset. And I am likely to respond differently, if someone is taking a risk.

What I hope we can do -- "we" being those of us who are trying to make a difference -- is communicate, person to person, with people in the red states.

I know people in Nebraska. I grew up in that area. They are, as most people are, good people. They want justice; they want fairness; they want to believe that their time is spent productively. They want to believe in a government of, for, and by the people.

But they have very limited news sources. In Wahoo, Nebraska, they may have the Rush AM network, the local (perhaps remotely-owned) newspaper, the ClearChannel FM stations, and local TV stations, to get their info. With those inputs, what output can be expected?

I want them to have a human being communicating with them directly, personally, by mail. I want them to get a letter, once a month, saying:

"I call myself a liberal, but that word has been twisted by others to mean things I don't call myself. I don't "want" taxes. I don't "want" government intrusion. I don't "want" gay marriage.

However, I believe it's wrong to saddle our grandchildren with debt, so that a few wealthy folks can benefit today. I believe it's wrong to give Big Business free rein to pollute our groundwater, despoil our land, and gobble up small businesses in the name of efficiency. I believe it's wrong to condemn people for things they cannot control."

I want this letter to include a name, and an address, and even a phone number (as my letter to those PA strangers did), to enable a dialogue to take place. Few people are willingly rude to strangers -- they will listen, albeit uncomfortably, to anyone willing to take the risk of direct communication.

I'll add more stuff to this meme later. But I'm also willing to explore options to make "pen pals" possible.

If 10% of the "blue state" activists commit to writing to 10 random "red state" citizens, human-to-human, and commit to striving for a snail-mail relationship (and, importantly, commit to listening, not just telling), then we can perhaps evolve into a society which is democratic, not theocratic; democratic, not authoritarian; democratic, not absolutist.

Unless we address this red/blue divide directly, then we'll allow the powerful to drive the debate, and allow the propogandists (from both sides) to present a limited, prejudiced view of what both sides "mean" and "want" and "believe."

That is not good for the commonwealth.