Back in high school, we used to do this thing to one another: step on the back of a guy’s sneaker, just as he was in the act of picking up his foot, which would slip the shoe off and make the guy shuffle and break stride. This was known as giving someone a flat tire. Childish, yes. But also a fine metaphor for life in general, and politics specifically.
A few weeks back, this State Senate campaign put out a call for early donors, and we tried deliberately to throw out the old system, in which only large donors get cool knicknames. We created a system in which all of our earliest donors, regardless of donation size, get early but lasting recognition: they’re now known as the Barnraisers.
Barnraisers are the first 100 people to help, pure and simple. And no matter what, those 100 will always be able to say that they were there first, when the task was toughest.
The goal was to reach that 100 donor mark by July 15th, the first reporting deadline. But then, out of nowhere, came the flat tire: I realized that while the report needs to be filed by the 15th, it covers donations only through the 12th.
We’re now at 75 donors, which is fantastic over a seven-week period. But that leaves just 7 days to reach 100, which, even for English majors, is . . . uh . . . okay, it’s somewhere between 3 and 4 donors a day, although I can’t figure out exactly where in between.
Today, for instance, 3 (or maybe 4) of you would have to donate, or contact friends and ask them to donate. Or pulse your Facebook and Twitter systems and ask all of those digital acquaintances to donate. Can that happen? Yes. But not without action. Not without actual physical clicking of mouses. Mice, rather.
Here’s the link. Yes, that’s right. Here it is.
If I were Glenn Beck, I would simply cry now. Oh yes.
But I’m not Glenn Beck, and the fact that I’m not is, in my opinion, only one of my qualifications for office. So I’ll just ask again for your help getting this campaign up and running, so that we maximize the chances the organization is strong enough to compete when things heat up.
Which is to say this: the earlier you support the candidates you prefer, the greater the chances you’ll find your choices preferable come Election Day. We’ll update you as the count climbs, and the barn gets built.
And we can’t promise we won’t begin liveblogging if the count gets stuck at 93 or 94. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Late Update, 3:50 pm:
Never let it be said that the Vermont netroots are dormant. In the last 5 hours, we’ve found 8 new donors. That’s just about one-third of the 25 new donors we needed. At that pace, we could have our 100 Barnraisers by tomorrow lunch time, which would make for a fairly awesome lunch hour.
Deep thanks to all of those who went from passive to active today. Just 17 more new donors to go, and we’ll have this barn raised. Raised right up high, where folks can see it.
Later Update, 4:54 pm:
Okay, make that 15 to go. Apparently people ate their Wheaties today.
Must Go To Bed Update, 10:14 pm:
Just 13 left, as an old, old friend from high school just reappeared on the scene via Facebook, and made the last contribution of the day. An amazing day. Thank you all for making it amazingly good, rather than amazingly bad.
Only 13 more Barnraisers needed, in 6 days. As George Bush used to like to say, before he tried to take over the world, “I like my odds.”
Tuesday Morning Update, 8:18 am:
Whatever got going yesterday is still going today: we’re down to just 10 Barnraiser slots left. Almost single digits. Which means we could realistically hit the 100 mark over the course of the work day today.
Wow. What a series of tubes.
And people behind them.
Later Tuesday Morning, 9:49 am:
Eight left. 8. By definition: “the cardinal number between seven and nine; 8; VIII.” And that’s not a lot, folks.
Yet Later, 10:15 am:
Seven left. 7.
Don’t Stop the Barnraising Rock Update, 10:26:
Tuesday, 2:34 pm:
Five. 5. Just went to do Fran Stoddard’s Writers on the Future panel downtown, part of the Quad Centennial, and came back to find that we’d hit 20 donors since yesterday. Brilliant.
And that, of course, means that there are only as many Barnraisers left as the fingers on your hand. Counting the thumb, of course.
Don’t stop now.
Tuesday Late Afternoon Update, 4:17 pm:
Okay, not quite sure how to say this, but for some reason that I really don’t quite understand someone very famous whom I’ve never met just made one huge donation, right in the nick of time.
Which is strange and odd and wonderful. And which leaves 3 slots left.
And three, of course, is a magic number.
Penultimate Update, 4:44 pm:
2 more. Have to go teach a night class. What a day.
But one last question: who, exactly, will be the 100th Barnraiser?
Ultimate Update, 7:58 pm:
The final liveblogged moment is here. We need only one more Barnraiser. We only need the Act Blue counter to budge once more. So let us give the moment the dignity it’s due. In fact, let us read aloud, together, from the book of Bono:
You got to do what you should
With each other
But we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other