Editorial: Let's Do Something

I'm borrowing this headline from “The Late Show With David Letterman,” which returned to the airwaves last week with a very nervous and subdued host, but the sentiment is difficult to improve upon. At a time like this, that's what we must do. We must do something. We must replace what has been destroyed. We must show these bastards that we aren't scared. We must prove that we are stronger than before. And as New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and others urged countless times these past few days: We must spend our money and rebuild the economy. There's nothing wrong with that.

It's impossible to express how the nation has been affected by this insidious attack. I didn't expect Dan Rather, Letterman's first guest a week ago, to break down on camera twice. The entire hour was riveting, exemplifying the grief, the frustration and the anger that is being felt by so many people right now. But this is also why we're seeing the country come together, and many of the actions from those in this industry are shining through. Businesses are donating money and equipment to the various charities involved in the relief efforts. The names are too numerous to mention; the offers of assistance — both great and small — are sincerely appreciated. The Direct Marketing Association has set up a donation clearinghouse of its own. Telemarketers also proved invaluable in the time after the attack in locating missing employees from Morgan Stanley, which had offices in the World Trade Center.

Nothing we do will bring back the thousands of innocent lives lost in this disaster. Nothing. But we must go forward. We cannot allow this to push the country into further economic turmoil. The next time you're online, buy something. Page through a catalog and pick up the telephone or stop by the store. Respond to that BTB mailer. As a marketer, know that your customers' needs may be different from what they were two weeks ago. Just be honest and communicate appropriately. Finally, if you haven't donated to any charities lately, several involved in the relief efforts need your support. Let's show the world what we can do.

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