With talk of terrorist "pals" and melanoma prognoses, can this presidential campaign get worse? Probably.
But maybe meaner and scarier is not the way to reach the undecided -- still somewhere between 5% and 18% percent of us. (Whatever their numbers, they will choose our next president.) If they haven't decided by now, could it be because they feel put-off, confused, and downright insulted by the barrage of emotional, narrow, lie-tainted charges?
If I'm right, there's opportunity as never before in these precious remaining weeks. That's why my colleagues and I have relaunched UDecide.org, to help you reach out to friends, in-laws, classmates, co-workers, neighbors, email contacts -- and strangers -- to create our own barrage: one of essential, factual contrasts between the candidates, presented in a respectful way.
On the UDecide site you'll find clear fact-flyers -- with complete, credible sources -- to email, download, photocopy, share, and post. Everywhere! We did this during the '04 race, and two million UDecide flyers got out there.
We can do it again. UDecide flyers can turn up quickly in doctors' waiting rooms, on school cafeteria walls, on coffee-shop bulletin boards, and on car windshields in church parking lots.
We can use the web to reach Americans who don't live on the web. In these last weeks, it's something we can do wherever we are.
Frances Moore Lappé
P.S. Also, please check out these two sample quotes below from folks who took this strategy and ran with it 2004.
* "I'm taking a big stack of the Women's issues flier with me today as I run my errands. I'm leaving stacks at the gynecologists' office, the foyer of the daycare, and the yoga center. Hopefully another woman will read one and be enlightened!" -- Lynda
* "I own a tattoo studio in Oregon. I have a large number of clients that are undecided on just how they are going to vote. I'm putting the flyers in a binder on the coffee table for them to see and discussing the topics while I tattoo them. I am also going to make up waterproof posters and tack them to to utility poles around town." -- Donald
Frances Moore Lappe of the Small Planet Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the author of sixteen books, most recently Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad.