I put up a No Soliciting sign today. I just can’t face the prospect of another political season without it. You may not be selling magazines, but you are selling a politician, a party, a cause. You are the same.
I hope my new sign works.
In this day and age, people should know that opening your door to a stranger is not necessarily safe…especially if you are a woman home alone with your kids or it’s after dark. No campaign for any person or cause — no matter how worthy — should be asking us to take that risk.
And yet the doorbell often rings at 6:00pm, and we open it because it might be one of the neighbors’ kids coming to see if the boys want to play. Sometimes it is. But often it is not. And my kids scold me for being rude when I say, “Not interested,” as I quickly shut the door in the stranger’s face. They don’t know that although you are supposed to be kind to strangers, there is no requirement that you listen to their spiel just because they rang.
The problem is that on more than one occasion, a solicitor has pushed back. I’ve been yelled at and insulted for saying they should put something in the mail rather than intrude on my evening. They have told my kids that I don’t care. One yelled as he walked down the street that I was to blame for innocent children being shot in the projects. You’ve got the wrong girl.
And that’s not fair. They don’t know me. They don’t know what I do for those I care about. They don’t know how many causes I support. How dare they stand on my doorstep and pretend they do.
To me, it’s trespassing and an invasion of privacy. I did not invite the campaign worker to my doorstep….even if I will eventually vote their way or donate to their cause on my own. I may be a believer too.
But really, who is ignorant enough to make their decisions about politics or religion or philanthropy based on a stranger who showed up at your door one night while you were multitasking between the kids’ homework assignments, cooking dinner and finishing your own project of the day?
And there are other ways they can get their message to me without jeopardizing my safety or intruding unwanted on my evening with my family.
I will take the time to read a campaign email on my own time. I will read editorials in the paper written by respected politicos and thought leaders. I will check out a campaign website, listen to a speech, watch a debate. I will take note of an ad in a magazine. I will talk politics, religion, philanthropy with my friends, whose opinions I have grown to trust and value. But now that I have a No Soliciting sign, don’t ring my doorbell. I won’t listen, and I may not vote your way just because you didn’t bother to listen to me.