I attended a rally for South Dakota’s tourism industry last week, which is gearing up for summer. The message: Let’s get this show on the road!

With Memorial Day just a few weeks away, the Mount Rushmore State brought out its top marketers, tourism execs, and native dancers to generate excitement for the upcoming season.

And then it rained. And the temperature dropped by about 20 degrees.

As people scurried for shelter, the crowd thinned. In the end, my kids and I, plus a few stragglers remained. Four off-duty costumed mascots ate tacos from a food truck, their enormous president heads propped up next to them.

I’m not worried about South Dakota. It’s a terrific destination, and I’m sure it’ll have a successful summer. But I know what it feels like when the rain comes, and the crowds run. I’ve been abandoned, blacklisted, and shunned by a long list of people who I thought were important. It’s an inevitable result of speaking out fearlessly on behalf of consumers.

But this time will be different because you’re not just any crowd. You’re my best friends and supporters — and darn it, we’re on a mission together!

We’re go for launch!

With just nine days until our do-or-die spring fundraiser, I can’t imagine us not succeeding. What makes me say that? Many of you have been with me for a long time — some as far back as 1997, when the site first signed on. You know that this is our moment.

This is where we raise $30,000 to become a bona fide nonprofit organization. This is when we finally get this show on the road.

My staff and I have invested a lot of time and effort into turning this consumer advocacy site into the most helpful and useful organization for you. And it’s about to get even better, as we double down on our investment.

With your help, we can’t fail.

My best friends

There’s one other thing going in our favor. Many of you — in fact, most of you — are my personal friends. Maybe you’ve used the services of my consumer advocacy site, and in the process, have befriended the advocates, writers, and editors who work with me. You know that we are serious about helping.

Or, maybe you’re a regular commenter on the blog or in the forums. All of your friends are here, too. You know that we’re an open, inclusive, and civil place. You know this site is a rare island in an ocean of deep, toxic water — a place where the world’s problems can be solved, one case at a time.

You’re helping the advocacy already. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter version of this post (you can do that by going to my personal site and clicking the right tab on the page), then you’re looped in. And it’s working. I’ll have details in today’s newsletter, but for obvious reasons, not here.

The mission is clear. Let’s get this show on the road!

This is the start of something incredible, and I’m happy you’ve decided to join me for this adventure. Together, we’re going to create a consumer organization that empowers people to solve their consumer problems and helps those who can’t.

Our mission is clear. The rains may come, the crowds may disperse, but I know you will be there with us, ready to help.

Now, let’s get this show on the road!

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