Letter From My Buddy

I received this following letter by email from my buddy the President:

Hugh —

This is my last campaign, and I’m ready to give it all I’ve got.
I know supporters like you are, too.
In the past, you pitched in to help when we needed it most. Thank you so much for your support in these final weeks.
Please donate $25 or more before tonight’s deadline:

Thank you,


I must say, I don’t recall sending the man any money. But that was four years ago and I was filled with hope and optimism. It must be so. Besides he would know since he was the one who received the money, don’t you think? He must know me pretty well to address me by my first name and then sign the note with his first name, just like he really knows me and it’s not just some sort of computer trick to make me think he knows me and just wants me to send him some money. I’m not sure. But then he didn’t really sign it: the name is just typed.  So I suspect it is just a trick.

It does occur to me that like every politician running for office — and many who are not — he has his hand out and is eager for a donation. I dare say he would like me to give him even more than the requested $25.00. But his marketing people figure that’s all I’m good for, I suppose. Perhaps they are right. Or, again, perhaps I’m not even good for that amount. After all I read that he has people (and especially corporations) giving him tons of money in the most obscene election year ever, thanks to “Citizens United.” The corporations, of course, are buttering their bread on both sides so they play a win-win game: it doesn’t matter who wins, they win.

What will I have coming to me if I give in to this request? Will I get a thank-you from my buddy Barack? And will he ask me what he could do for me to let me know how grateful he is for my help — pitiful though it was? I wonder. If this sort of letter went out to all of Barack’s many friends (and I dare say the number of large indeed) then he is going to owe everyone something. That’s how the game is played. But I expect since this is his last campaign this is the last time I will hear from him. Politicians are a fickle lot and they tend not to keep their promises; I’m pretty sure he will forget all about me as soon as the election is over. That’s how it seems to work.

And what’s with the “midnight deadline”? Do you think if I wait until next week or next month he won’t accept the money? Maybe I should drop him a note and tell him I am a bit strapped at present and next month might be a better time.. But he probably won’t respond: I know he’s pretty busy. But then I really must do something to help make sure the other guy doesn’t get in, don’t I? Besides, apparently the President is a close personal friend.

A Good Corporation?

I am the first to point out the shortcomings and travesties of large corporations that put profits above people. One of the major corporations that heads the list because of its treatment of its employees and its inclination to buy cheap goods from third world countries is Walmart. There is no end of the bad press this company has received over the years, and deservedly so. Among other things, during the latest violence in the stores on Black Friday, the name “Walmart” kept coming up and there is no question they took the lead in encroaching on Thanksgiving in order to get customers out early buying their product. And this is not the first year Walmart has been in the headlines on the day after Thanksgiving.

But, then, there is another side to the story and it is a relief to read that Walmart partners with “Second Harvest,” a Twin Cities food bank that feeds the hungry and does immense good each year. In fact, Walmart has helped provide 197 million meals of late in the form of meat, fresh produce, and other nutritious foods. In addition, they have pledged $2 billion in cash, equipment and food through 2015. As the director of Second Harvest says, “That’s just a mind-blowing investment.” It comes in the form not only of food but also refrigerated food trucks that play an essential part in food-rescue efforts.

Walmart has long been involved in charitable giving, including millions of dollars in scholarships. But these gifts often seemed like a publicity ploy designed to off-set the image the company was getting as an exploiter of its own employees and one of the most greedy of the profit-seekers. This latest step has been taken on the quiet and dwarfs previous efforts in the good it will do for people in a time of real hardship.

Cynics will say this is a huge write-off for the company, and this is true. But, again, it is also an act of generosity that will help feed hungry people in an economy when their numbers are growing. We need to see this as a good thing to balance out the picture we have of large corporations that can’t see beyond the bottom line. Those companies are still out there and they dominate the landscape. But it is nice to know that there is some good hiding amidst all the short-sightedness.