Friday, July 25, 2008

Death, mobility, celebrities, and soap operas

New Mexico Congressional District 1, Martin Heinrich for Congress: Update.

Over the past several weeks I've alphabetized & filed perhaps 1000 paper copies of donor records. I've updated perhaps 2000 donor records in a donor database.

What have I learned from this experience?
1) it's amazingly easy to develop attachments to faceless names and addresses; you see a name on an envelope or on a computer record more than a couple of times, and you start to imagine you've established a personal relationship with that person!

2) folks die. yeah - i probably knew that already... but when i realize that one of my sources for updating records is the Albuquerque Journal's obituary archive, it starts to sink in!

3) folks are mobile. me? i'm pretty sedentary - i've lived in the same house now for about 16 years, and expect to die here. not everyone is this sedentary: tracking folks from new mexico to florida has been a lot of fun! more than a few folks lead seasonal lives, with homes from coast to coast - all the addresses are "good", just not all relevant today!

4) if you give $$$ to political campaigns, the FEC has your number!... Want to send Don Henley (drummer, the Eagles) a note? his address is available via FEC. Barbra Streisand? ditto.

5) the donor database has a feature called 'householding': if two folks share a residence, their records can be combined. sad thing is, there are more than a few folks who once were householded but who now live separately - often on different sides of the country.

Recall from above: a) i've developed a meta-personal relationship with many of these folks, and b) it really is possible to track an individual's movement via the internet.

i suspect a more imaginative fellow (and a better writer!) could compose more than a few short-stories - with soap-opera themes - based on these observed break-ups.

it's to the point that i'm surprised and disappointed when i can't pin a person down to his/her current location. this ought to scare me!

caveat: all of the comments above refer to a specific subset of the overall population, namely - folks who give $$$ to political campaigns! this likely represents upper percentiles of income distribution. "Doctors" - MDs, PhDs, EdDs, JDs, etc. - are fairly common. Professional investors are common. (Oh, yeah... i forgot to mention: when you give $$$ to political campaign, you have to indicate your employer & your profession!... this info is also helpful in tracking you down!)

progress to date: i've processed ~1500 pieces of returned mail, and have updated in the neighborhood of 2500 donor records for one reason or another.

is this fun?

no. it's tedious & time-consuming... and mind-numbing.

... BUT: i am doing something tangible to promote the election of a major-party-candidate-who-is-not-Rebpublican to the U.S. House of Representatives... in a district that has been Republican since its creation in 1968.

as it turns out, i actually LIKE Martin Heinrich,... BUT: the Dem candidate could have been a hairless, one-eyed, gap-toothed, baby-eating ogre with halitosis, and i'd still be putting in my time!

Take back our country!

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