Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 Aug 2004, 11:07 a.m.

Reasoned Persuasion

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2004 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The other day I conversed, very politely, with a Nader supporter and did my tiny bit to persuade someone who did not wish to be persuaded. I'm an idealist and a pragmatist both, as is Sepoy. He's taking two weeks off to go register voters in Ohio, a swing state.

Lately it seems my address proves a handicap in actually working towards my political goals. And I'm not just talking about my letters to soldiers overseas, where I gloomily predict that the recipients will laugh at and reject any subtle or hesitant political statements I make because I'm "just another San Francisco liberal."

I live in California, which is not a swing state, so my vote won't make a difference in the presidential election. I live in San Francisco, so I can trust that on the local and federal levels my neighborhood's representatives will properly represent my desires. State referenda are basically the only way my vote will count this November.

So I have begun to fantasize about quitting my job, or taking a leave of absence, to go to Oregon or Pennsylvania or Nevada to live and work in the heart of Bush country, having conversations, persuading Republicans and centrists and wavering voters with Socratic questioning and my sheer goodness of will that Kerry is the better choice. It's grandiose, which has "grand" in it, and if there was a time this would be it....