Monday, July 14, 2008

Public Service is NOT Charity Work

The Crucible with Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder.
February 4, 2002. photo Barry Wetcher/Twentieth Century Fox.

“You Must SUFFER in the NAME of His HOLINESS”
“But I wanted a BLACK iPod. Frack!”

I dunno. You're buying the lastest gadgets, but then asking for money.
Bollox Ref

I'm not picking on Bollox Ref. This is one of those “attack the idea, not the person” moments. The above idea is about to be taken out. Bollox Ref on the other hand... no problem. *smiles*

Let's understood, then kill off this concept. It is an ENORMOUSLY destructive line of thinking and an ongoing barrier to raising funds for progressive causes.

The concept, said simply is this:

"Public service is charity work."

It sounds silly, but when you cut down to it, that's how many people think.

Call it the "Mother Theresa" VOW OF POVERTY life of public service model.

The penitent one takes a vow of poverty, turns over any and all income from all sources to charity, and works around the clock ceaselessly in a life of selfless service dedicating oneself to that which is being served. But it's okay, because of God.

In the Mother Theresa model, nothing is allowed but service. No money, no belongings (other than simple gifts made on potting wheels from Mother Earth, lovingly presented at a ceremony while school-children sing a song composed especially in honor of the occasion.) Of course, if the gift has genuine monetary value from a serious artist, one would naturally auction it at Sothebys and contribute the funds to “the cause.” If one suffered a little and wrote a short but heart-felt poem on tree-bark which was then posted on your blog to inspire your followers, so much the better.

Oh. My. Gods.

THAT IS NOT A FUCKING LIFE. (That is not a fucking life.)

No wonder the Republicans have been kicking our ass.

They have institutions, research grants, scholarships, third-party offers, 501C3s, 501C4s, and so goddamn many different institutes, universities and colleges, it isn't even funny.

From the moment Republican kids walk into college they are taken care of. An entire HOST of institutional choices are available to Young Republicans, all designed to make certain of two things:

1. Republicans get paid.

Got that? Republicans get paid.

Let me say it again. If there is one thing Republicans always make damn sure happens, it is this: they get fracking paid.

We could learn from them.

2. Republicans have careers.

I didn't say jobs. I said careers.

Upward fucking mobility. With benefits. Mentors. Fully-paid conferences, retreats and education. All designed to make certain they STAY REPUBLICANS (because that is where they get paid) and that they have Republicans all around them all the time, telling them how great it is to be a Republican.

Damn. Sounds sweet.

Furthermore... (and this is really a third point.)

3. Republicans get quoted.

Where? By other Republicans. It's a damn echo chamber. Hello, 'lo, 'lo...

But Republicans also get quoted by the traditional media, which is lazy enough to fail to mention such-and-such an institute is being funded by Adolph Coors who coincidently gives x million a year to hard right-wing causes.

Which gives the Republicans cred when they apply for the research position. Which gives them status when it's time for that University appointment. Fellowships. Book deals. Editorial appearances on radio and television.

Round and around and around.

Republicans take care of each other, always. They have each other's backs.

* * * * * * * * * *



Don't make me laugh; it hurts.

We have bloggers who hold fundraisers to pay some blogging bills, yet even though it's our own damn money get looked at funny if we buy a fucking iPhone!

Let's get a few things clear.

Professional work requires professionals.

It requires hiring pros. It requires being professional.

I used to cringe when Steve - a fucking pro if there ever was one -- felt he had to justify himself every time he bought Jen something nice. While with his enormous talent and big donor base, he still lacked the funds to buy a world-class health care policy.

My dear friend Melanie died in part due to lack of health care.

No damn well-known Republican ever died because their job didn't have full benefits. And a 401K. And stock options with a golden-parachute kicker.

We have fundraisers. And people questioning our commitment.


It's ugly and it's mean and it is wrong.

Donate, don't donate, it's your call. But be clear... We are not Mother Teresa and we don't follow that model.

We will use the money you give us wisely and carefully. We are using it overwhelming for items such as:
  • hotels (probably)
  • travel (maybe)
  • basic business expenses
  • back end blog costs
  • stuff you'll find out about Tuesday
I wish we had more money so we could pay for more. As it is we're all having to pay too much of our own expenses to suit me. But we do that and don't complain. Because we all believe in public service and we believe in America.

That the four of us, er, six of us now with Evan and TLG are able to afford to pay for our own expenses (and buy iPhones if we want) is what has kept Group News Blog up and running. We've been up for a year and this is the first time we've ever asked anyone for a nickel.

Why? Because I respect you too much to do this any other way.

Let us be blunt. Jen put the keys to the kingdom in my hands. Before I'm going to ask y'all to give us money, I had to be sure you thought what we were giving you was worth it. That takes time and trust. Traditionally it takes a year.

So here we are.

From the donations pouring in, you trust us.

You've read our posts. You know we're the real deal. You know we're not nuns or monks. If we get the chance to have a good time, we will. Probably not with GNB funds simply because there aren't enough of them to use them that way. But if there was, I wouldn't feel even slightly guilty having a good meal and buying the gang a nice bottle of wine on the company nickel. (I don't drink; with my meds it could kill me.)


My point is, each of your bloggers contribute enormously to Group News Blog:
  • financially with actual money in various forms and ways,
  • editorially by writing posts and comments as well as emails,
  • technically each within our own specialties, and
  • physically through giving hundreds or even thousands of hours of time and energy.

What we do with your financial donations is... We use them wisely.

We have great lives which we're happy to live. We ask you to contribute financially because we can not afford to fund -- nor frankly, should we -- the expenses of a serious journalism business which is growing and expanding.

Mother Theresa was a Saint and she practiced holy orders.

Group News Blog is a business and we practice journalism.

Being a progressive liberal and a journalist doesn't foreclose owning cool toys.

Please continue donating -- $100, $75, and $50 dollars.

Thank you for your support.