For the umpteenth time in recent weeks, I welcomed yet another canvasser to my door. The names seem endless: Environmental Wisconsin, Environmental Decade, WISPRG, Democrats for Change (that's a funny,isn't it?). They all want one thing from me and my neighbors: money. I tell them I'm with them, that I write/call congress people, do lots of different kinds of political activism. Then it comes down to selling me something. Usually its a newsletter or something that will tell me what I already know. I asked the most recent pair: Why are you canvassing here, in my neighborhood where virtually all my neighbors are extremely left and progressive and all that, with a few exceptions. They smiled and bid me farewell. As I reflected about it over the next couple days, I had one of those "aha" moments. They canvas us "believers" because we live in what is regarded as an "affluent" neighborhood with "progressive" values. So they are not looking to change hearts and minds, they are looking for us to write big numbers in our checkbooks so they, the canvassers, can get paid. It's self perpetuating. And I don't feel it is very effective. They preach to the choir 'cause the choir is committed and they are expected to fill the offerig plate.
I was briefly part of the paid canvas of the Nuclear Freeze (boy, that dates me, huh?) and remember the training and how they taught us to "encourage" or "persuade" people to dig deeper and give more. The vast majority of that money went to pay for the canvas itself, not for any political work.
So if people want to deliver their newsletter to my door and have me pay for it, why don't the just call it what it is: a paper route!