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September 14, 2007

$27 = Political Influence

Would you be willing to give up your Decaf LowFat Caramel Macchiato with Extra Foam for a week?

Many of us have so few personal indulgences, the thought of going caffeine-free for a week could be tough, especially for those who are newly sleep-deprived. Think you could do it if that meant having a real voice in the upcoming presidential elections?

You can read more of Joanne's political thoughts at PunditMom.

Listen to this amazing statistic and it will make you put that double espresso down for a minute. In the September issue of More Magazine , Melinda Henneberger, the author of If They Only Listened to Us, reports that if every woman who voted in the 2006 national elections contributed just $27 to any presidential candidate, we would pour $1.3 billion dollars into politics.

I'll give you a minute to get back up on your chair.

$1.3 billion dollars.  Not exactly chump change.  That was astounding to me.  Even more astounding was that we don't do it.  Why? According to Henneberger, it's partly because we, as women, fail to make the connection between political donations and influence in policy decisions. 

I know you might be thinking that making a donation of $27 to a candidate isn't going to have much sway when it comes to getting our voices heard on health care and other issues we care about.  But if we band together and select candidates we want to support and give in a "bundle," that's where we can start to have some clout.

For just $27.

I've already made a couple of modest contributions to some candidates, but certainly not enough to be asked to host a house party where a candidate comes to meet other like-minded givers and actually listen to the concerns of those who are ready to open their wallets. I am newly motivated, though, to start a PunditMom coffee campaign here in my own neighborhood.   

What if I could convince a good number of my friends to chip in $27 to a fund for a candidate we could all agree on?  I know things aren't going to change overnight, but it might be a good start to raising our profile and getting the attention of those who think we're just not that important.

Plus, we can still go back to our Iced Decaf Skim Extra Shot Cappuccino. Seems like a pretty good bargain to me.

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post. 

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