October 16, 2017
Texans Learn What’s What
Three Texans participated in the National Alliance for Retired Americans Leadership Conference in Maryland on October 13-15: Reverend Harmon Dent, Organizer Judy Bryant, and me. There are a lot more photos on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRetirees/.
I came away more convinced than ever that we can convince America’s retirees to start voting in their own interests during 2018. I was also convinced that it’s going to be complicated and difficult.
There was more information than I could assimilate, so I am going back over my one-inch stack of papers to sort out the main messages.
Because of the vastness of our state, I tended to listen more to telecommunications problems and solutions more than anything else.
Discourage activists from forwarding “Friday Alert” or other e-blasts
Well intentioned supporters forward our e-blasts to their friends, but they are hurting us more than they are helping. If people get the same thing more than once, they tend to mark it as “spam.” The activist, Texas, and national then lose that contact forever. Worse, all the activists’ future e-mails are under the “spam” cloud and may go directly into all recipients’ spam boxes!
A better procedure would be to “cut and paste” information into a new e-mail and send that out to friends. To build the network, the individual activist could include a link allowing people to sign up for the data base: https://retiredamerica.wpengine.com/join-us/
A more ambitious idea would be to ask people to sign up to donate to TARA with this link: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/organize-for-the-right-to-retire?source=direct_link&.
Right now, TARA leaders around the state only have one safe way to send out large numbers of emails, and that is to send me the message and let me e-blast it out to the targeted area. It would be possible to train someone in each geographic area to operate the e-blast program, but they would also have to learn all the legal restraints. Like a lot of other procedures, e-mail communications has one way to do it and several ways to mess it up.
The immediate problem is to get activists to stop “helping” us by forwarding our e-blasts.
Most “Dos and Don’ts” are “Don’ts!”
National has to protect our legal situation and tax status for all of us, consequently they really want everybody trained about what they can and can’t do. Executive Director Rich Fiesta said, “We want to keep everybody out of trouble.”
Texas is not as limited as it was during its first years, but there are still a lot of “don’ts.” Basically, we can conduct our own political campaigns, but we cannot fund nor work directly under candidates nor political parties. As long as we maintain our independence, we can do a lot!
We Have High Hopes for 2018
No one was kidding anyone about the seriousness of the present political situation for America’s seniors. It’s bad, getting worse, and not likely to get better until some serious changes take place. But analysis of the senior vote in the 2016 elections can be encouraging. Seniors, more than any other age group, changed from Republican to Democrat in 2016. Union retirees continue to be the best voters in America and non-union retirees, who have less information and no one to trust, continue to be the worst, but both are trending in positive ways.
If TARA’s activities are carefully planned, we can have a profound effect. If our activities are robust and energetic, we can do even more!
–Gene Lantz, President
Texas Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund