Thank you for volunteering to write postcards to Georgia voters in this all-important runoff Senate election! Here are some tips for successful interactions with potential voters:
1. Address your recipient by their full name—for instance, “Dear Jane Doe.” Do not say “Ms. Doe.” Do not say “Miss Doe.” Especially do not say “Dear Peaches.”
2. Choose a generic postcard image that will appeal to all sorts of people. Pictures of kittens, American flags, or the Statue of Liberty are all good. Kittens waving American flags at the Statue of Liberty are even better. Pictures of Gone With The Wind, Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, or that great Architectural Digest cover photo of your weekend home on Turks and Caicos will not work as well.
3. Include a sentence about why this election is important to YOU. Write from the heart. We repeat, write from the heart. Do NOT write from the spleen. Or the gut, the fist, the kishkes, the middle finger, or the naughty bits. Do not write, “It’s time for Mitch McConnell’s turtle face to suffer unbearable humiliation and burn in the eviscerating, pustulant, everlasting fires of Hell.”
4. No need to mention how you lost your virginity to R.E.M. in your boyfriend’s parents’ minivan.
5. Likewise, don’t reference Midnight Train to Georgia, Georgia on My Mind, or Sweet Georgia Brown. Georgians are sick of that stuff.
6. Do not take sides on Nene Leakes versus Sheree Whitfield. You are not writing to them about important things like Real Housewives of Atlanta, just about the future of the U.S. Senate.
7. Keep in mind that not all Atlantans work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please do not ask for behind-the-rope-line VIP access to the COVID vaccine.
8. No threats and no bribes. No marriage proposals, Harry & David fruit boxes, bitcoin, or offers to give them a kidney.
9. Do not ask if they know anyone with an Airbnb who could lodge you, switch their utility bills to your name, and register you to vote by Dec. 7.
10. Don’t try to sound southern. Your idea of southern dialect probably sounds like the misbegotten love child of William Faulkner and The Beverly Hillbillies. Y’all hear me, sugar?
11. Keep focused. When writing hundreds of postcards, it’s easy to zone out and slip into automatic pilot. You are NOT asking them to vote for Sara Gideon! Repeat to yourself: Not Sara Gideon, not Sara Gideon.
12. Maintain an upbeat tone. Sound like a friend. That doesn’t mean you need to share how you were on anti-depressants from Nov. 8, 2016 through Nov. 7, 2020, even your emotional support dog was on anti-depressants, and your therapist moving to Canada didn’t help.
13. Remind them that an important holy day is coming in December. Not Christmas, not Hanukkah, not Kwanzaa — Dec. 14, the start of early voting! The rest of the country — heck, the rest of the world — is deeply envious of Georgia and its local political consultants, TV stations, printers, and mail houses who will have a busy and happy holiday season. Don’t let us down. Voting is a muscle. Exercise it! Drop and give us 20! Pump that ballot! Five laps around the county courthouse!
14. End on a friendly note by signing the postcard with your first name. But not Sherman. Come to think of it, not even Herman.
Y’all hear me now, sugar? Write those postcards!
Ilana DeBare, a former Chronicle reporter, is working on a novel. Her blog is midlifebatmitzvah.wordpress.com.