A Bad Case of Electuenza

A Bad Case of Electuenza

Incessant cries for help–and money–from people running campaigns are destroying my peace of mind.


Have you come down with electuenza? Write us a letter and describe your symptoms. Maybe we can raise money for a cure…..

I sat down this morning, as I do every day, with a huge list of things to accomplish, but the election got in the way.

It’s 7 am and I’m calling a collection agency that’s on my case because our son had to spend one night in a hospital this summer, at a cost of $22,000, which our insurance doesn’t want to pay because they need to be convinced that there was a medical necessity for this service. Apparently “continuing to live” doesn’t register on their scale of medical necessity, but before I have a chance to punch in the endless information required to speak to an actual human, an important e-mail comes in, demanding my immediate response.

It’s from Joe. He really needs my help. No, not Joe the Plumber. Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign. He needs to raise $150,000 in two weeks to help the Vote No on Proposition 8 campaign here in California, and they’re stuck at $100,336. Can I help close the gap? I really, really want to support transgender, gay and bisexual rights, but our healthcare bills are too high. Lose hour thinking about it. Maybe after the election.

It’s 10:23 and I’m doing my patriotic duty by working my way through our 2007 taxes, which I’ve delayed because, in some sort of cosmic joke, we’ve gotten hit with capital gains taxes from stock we sold last year. But just as I’m trying to force my hand to write the check, I receive an urgent e-mail from Barack. Obama, that is. How can I not drop everything and read it? His missives are always addressed to me personally. I hear from him more frequently these days than my own husband! Barry’s asking me to help strengthen the campaign in the battleground states by making a donation of $5. Damn, he’s like a teenager–it’s always an emergency. I just sent him $25 last week and purchased two Obama pins written in Hebrew to be delivered to my parents in Florida because I couldn’t afford to make the great schlep. If I send $35 to Joe and $5 to Barack, that’s $40 and I haven’t earned any money today. I have to think about it. Damn lost twenty minutes on that e-mail.

It’s 11:03 and I have to try to squeeze some work in. I have a piece due to this very publication, but Eli asks me if I can give him a minute. That’s my daily communication from MoveOn‘s Eli Pariser. E says he knows I’m busy with the national election, but can I please watch his video? I really don’t have time, but I remember the good old days when MoveOn was the only way to connect to like-minded folks, so I’m guilted into dropping my work. He reminds me about the important Senate races. Cut to the chase: the giving starts at $25. I just don’t have it, but I do guiltily download his California Voter’s Guide. Now, I’m going to have to come up with some money for them soon. Meanwhile, I lost an hour on this e-mail. OK, I spent thirty minutes on this and then got mesmerized by the Internet story about the $150,000 the Republicans spent on Sarah Palin’s new wardrobe.

Now it’s 12:21 pm. Got to get back to work but Cindy’s sent me a note. I have soft spot for Cindy Sheehan, it’s true. I always wanted to send her some sunscreen when she was camped out in Texas. She’s a real American hero, but I can’t get behind her effort to defeat Nancy Pelosi. So instead of contributing the $25 for an ad she wants to run, I send an e-mail to her campaign office urging her to try for something I think might be more appropriate, like a position at the Veterans Administration.

It’s 1:11 pm, and right as I hit “send,” PFAW wants to give me something fun to do. The pitch? Help pick a funny McCain/Palin haiku and then fork over forty-five bucks. At 1:37 it’s Adam Quinn from DFA, wanting to know if can I pony up $25, and then at 1:58, it’s Kathy Kneer from Planned Parenthood, who asks for $25 to help defeat Proposition 4 in California. By the time I read each of these e-mails and click on their links, I haven’t finished one thing on my list and it’s time to pick up my kid from school, make dinner, help with homework, then check in with the election coverage on TV. I don’t want to miss anything! CNN says Obama has a double-digit lead, but the AP poll says it’s a dead-even race, and now Rachel Maddow has her own show? I can’t even go to bed now! What if McCain spontaneously combusts or Obama walks across the Pacific to get to Hawaii? Anything could happen.

Please, please make it stop!! The news, the urgent needs, the constant begging for money! Added up, the asks that rolled in during a single day come to almost the exact amount of the check I need to write out on that home equity loan I took out when I mistakenly believed that home prices were always going to go up. Not only can I not afford for this race to go on any longer, but it’s given me a terrible case of electuenza. I’m completely felled by it and I can’t get anything done.

November 4 can’t come soon enough.

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