Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Campaign Time - Cough up the Dough

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting 
the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
- Unknown

My friend from Desert Canyon Living shared this quote and I couldn't help but think about all of the mail my dad has been receiving. Dad is a Republican. He has never wavered. Not once since Dwight D. Eisenhower's days in office. 
It seems that every conservative group looking for money knows that my dad is a Republican and has donated to the party. Each day he has been receiving at least five mailings from different groups. Oh, they are so very cunning! 

First, I've noticed that they employ a variety of strategies just to get the recipient to at least open the envelope. Most common, it seems, is a colorful 'stamp' saying "Important Documents Enclosed", or some such statement.  Some have highlighted a "Membership Renewal" statement, implying that Dad had already been a part of whatever organization is soliciting his attention. My favorite was an envelope stating "Currency Enclosed" and you could see the edge of a bill in the window of the envelope. (And... just whose money are they using when they send out this stuff?!!)

Getting the recipient to open the envelope is the first hurdle. Then those clever folks have to get you to read their message. They employ bright colors, highlighting, underlining, and post-it type notes. Some groups have a letter addressed to Dear friend, or Dear supporter. Some have taken the effort to address it to the recipient. Oh, the wonders of technology and databases! Organizations may craft official looking documents with impressive looking seals.  Some appeals are single paged, others have multiple pages, use different colored paper, enclose certificates, have different sized documents. But, consistent among all of the mail is that somewhere they ask that you please donate to their cause.... and include four different ranges of contributions, with a simple check off box.

There are organizations that provide Dad with a self-addressed stamped envelope while other groups require Dad to pay the postage. Many have made it easy to give online, with just a click of computer key. But in the end, they all want the same thing. Money.

Dad and I don't always see eye-to-eye on which organizations he chooses to support. Dad's lockstep focus on the Republican party and conservative causes has led to more than one lively conversation! I can't change him, he was born this way! But I do worry that as he struggles more with his reasoning abilities he may make unwise decisions or be taken advantage of by a group he thinks is doing great work, when maybe they are only doing a great job of taking money from unsuspecting people. As I was growing up, Dad helped me read things like he is now receiving with a critical eye. He helped me learn to make sound judgments. It was a growth process. I now grapple with how to keep Dad from 'unlearning' these skills.

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