Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The People You Meet (When You Get Involved)

Since August, I've been canvassing neighborhoods for Sen. Obama's campaign. Knocking on doors and getting people registered to vote, or now, trying to persuade undecided voters and encourage all voters (even McCain supporters) to vote early or vote by mail to avoid/minimize long lines.

You meet some really interesting people on the campaign trail.

The young woman who told me she heard Obama was a terrorist and everybody had just found out.

The McCain supporter who told me I was soooo nice. Not sure what she expected...

The young woman who won't get to vote this year because she was asleep in the back room when somebody else stopped by a few days before the deadline. Her friends/roommates answered the door and registered themselves but didn't think to wake her up. Lesson: Choose better friends.

The gung-ho convicted felons and non-citizens who tell me they are definitely supporting Obama. Except they can't vote and they know they can't. Don't think we have any kind of honorary tally for those who would vote for him if they could but at least I was able to get information to a couple of them about how they can get their voting rights restored for Sen. Obama's re-election in 2012. :)

The door slammers. One look at my Obama button on my tee shirt, one with his face on it, and they shudder, gasp, twist their faces, and shut the door faster than I can say, "Hello."

The older voters who wanted to talk...and talk and talk and... Because they remember the 2000 election and "It's a shame what happened" and "You're doing a good thing." and... I was always taught to be respectful of my elders but I have 100 more doors to knock on!

The older couple who applauded me for knocking on doors for "your guy" but told me that they were voting for the only candidate who's ever been 100% honest with the American public. Ralph Nader.

The two drunken fellows who were sitting on their porch in a somewhat seedy area and cheering me as I walked down the street. My son didn't want me to leave the car with them but I knew it would be just fine parked across from their house. I told him, "They'll sit right there and watch the car until we get back and we won't have to worry about it one iota." Sure enough, they did. Then, they asked me to "Sign us up!" I just hope they weren't so sloshed that they don't remember registering. And we'll ignore the part of them inviting my 13yo to a strip club when he turns 18.

I didn't think I would like canvassing. The few times I did this in the past, either for my husband's school board campaign in NY or for church witnessing, I absolutely hated it. My stomach would be queasy and I couldn't wait for it to end.

But I'm having a ball. It's nice to get out and learn some areas of town that I'm not familiar with and to meet new people. I've made a friend, my canvassing buddy, who invited my sons to her son's birthday party. And I feel like I'm making a difference, especially when I registered voters or give them any tidbit of information they didn't have before.

Not sure if I'll remain involved politically after this election. I'm not for monthly meetings and things like that. I guess I like doing something rather than talking about doing something. Yet, I believe in our process, however corrupted it might seem at times, and like doing my civic duty.

Are you involved in the presidential campaign at all? Emailing friends with reminders to register or to vote? Sharing valid political information (and not just unsubstantiated rumors)? Canvassing? Taking people to the polls? Volunteering to be a poll watcher?

Consider getting involved. Three weeks to go and it's not too late!

Peace & Blessings,
Patricia

1 comment:

Chicki said...

That's hilarious!

I can't believe ANYONE would waste their vote on Ralph Nader ...

Really admire you for doing this. You sound like my oldest daughter. I'm one of those folks who freak out at the idea of going out and dealing with the public -- the reason I've never been involved in street ministry.

My mission field has always been the people around me -- at work, at school, friends, neighbors.