Franken and Fawkes

Because we’ve given a series of stray donations over the years — all anyone has to do is show up on our doorstep with a bleeding heart and our checkbook starts to twitch sympathetically and also irresponsibly because it has gone so long without being balanced — we get what I’m guessing is more than the usual household share of fundraising pitches in the mail.

Today we got the best letter ever, from some guy running for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota. Highlights include the salutation — “Dear Person I’m Asking for Money” — and this passage:

“When I get to Washington, someone is going to have to explain to me how the federal government can fail to live up to its promise to fully fund education. Someone (possibly the same person) is going to have to explain to me why political appointees are allowed to edit the language of scientific reports. And you can bet I’m going to ask the members of that august body who still don’t believe in global warming some pointed questions. For instance: What’s wrong with you.”

The pitch is for small contributions. The checkbook is twitching.

(Meantime, how about Ron Paul? When I was up in Idaho with my friend Pete a month ago, we saw plenty of hand-stenciled signs around Coeur d’Alene with legends like “Ron Paul Revolution.” I saw homemade Ron Paul signs in Chicago when I was there a couple weeks ago. And during my trips up to the UC-Berkeley campus in the last week or so, there’s evidence of a well-organized Ron Paul sidewalk chalking campaign (I’d have taken a picture but I’m still sans camera). And just today — Guy Fawkes Day — he raised $3.68 at least $4 million. So is he this generation’s Ross Perot or Teddy Roosevelt, the insurgent who upsets the electoral calculus that has held for three of the last four presidential elections? Much too early to tell, but someone out there likes him.

The Guy Fawkes thing is an interesting ploy, too, since Guy Fawkes (the wonderful “V for Vendetta” notwithstanding) wouldn’t appear to be so much an avenging angel of human liberty as someone bent on seeing the Roman Catholic Church and English Catholics restored to their rightful places. This was the same church that was so in love with liberty and free thought that it would soon be putting the screws to Galileo for thinking too much about what he saw in his telescope. Seems to me that Fawkes is as much a symbol of freedom as say, Edmund Ruffin or Nathan Bedford Forrest, a couple of guys who have been celebrated in some parts as true American patriots and defenders of the people’s rights against an overreaching federal government.

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