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In the far periphery of presidential politics and the surging pandemic, there’s a small, simple story that caught my attention from New York City. On a street corner in Brooklyn, a teacher named Brandon Woolf set up a folding chair and a typewriter alongside a mailbox and a handwritten sign offering “Free Letters for Friends Feeling Blue.”

It’s a familiar sight in some cities. His instrument is analog. And there’s nothing particularly new about consolation letters. But as isolation stretches on, the sheer tactility of letter-writing takes on heightened potential for healing for passers-by who pulled up. For hours on end, Woolf would type for anyone who asked, with masks, hand sanitizer, and distance in place. “Whatever type of experience you would like to have, I’m happy to provide letters, envelopes, stamps,” he told reporter Anna Quinn. “What’s a better experience than getting a piece of mail…from somebody you didn’t expect to hear from?”

Hard to disagree. With credit to Woolf and anyone who’s done it before, here’s an idea (what would Recharge be if not an amplifier?): For any reader who’d like a handwritten letter from our international Recharge desk, request away at recharge@motherjones.com. It won’t be typed, won’t be lengthy, and won’t be poetic; it’ll just be a postcard with a short message, and it won’t mention the 45th president of the United States.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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