ХудожникThis weekend I went for a walk with Ainara along Valencia Street. There were several Greenpeace folks canvasing for signatures. I blew them off in my usual way: spoke bad English in a foreign accent. Afterwards, though, I wondered why they bothered trying to get signatures in San Francisco.
San Francisco has a reputation for being liberal. While it is in many ways, we aren’t nearly as liberal as people outside of the city think. Sure, a lot of people smoke pot and we have a lot of crazy people here, the hippie history and all that rot but… We’re more libertarian in many things than liberal. You live your life how you want and so long as you don’t bother me then, well, have fun.
Still, trying to get signatures for a liberal cause here is like a Mormon going to Utah to try and convert people. Most are just going to ignore you or find you a bit ignorant for your misdirection. What you aren’t going to do is find many converts. It reminds me of what my friend, Sean, said about when the Prop8 opponents were doing. They were all along the coast in the more liberal areas trying to get people to oppose the passage of a law that would deny civil liberties. What they should have been doing was going to the heavily conservative center of California and trying to get signatures there.
These Greenpeace folks were doing the same thing. Why are you here in San Francisco? Go to Fresno. There you will have people to actually convert to your cause. And if they reject your position and give you good reasons why you just might have to think about what you’re doing.
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One Response to “Preaching to the Choir”
- Nob Hill Ken says (April 4th, 2012 at 11:57:47 )
It may look like a signature drive, but if they’re part of the same effort under way elsewhere in the City, the signatures sought are not on petitions but rather direct debit forms. Greenpeace (along with Planned Parenthood) is trolling more for dollars than converts, so I can see why thery’re here. Just try brushing them off by telling them you’re already a supporter: They’ll go apeshit trying to pry the money from your hands. Their geographic strategy is actually pretty sound, imo. When you want commitments for recurring, automatic contributions, it makes sense to target areas where your organization already has strong support. Too bad they’re using desperate ‘aggressive panhandler’ tactics, though. Hacks.
(The No on 8 PAC folks – for whom I volunteered – were happy to take donations but were primarily after votes. And yeah, their overall strategy *did* suck. Equality California has never really had effective leadership or [it seems] an action plan tested by logic.)