02 March 2008

diary of a mad campaigner (part 5 in a series)

wow, i don’t even know that i can figure out where to begin…

yesterday was my first day of actual campaigning and it was one of the best days of my life. i’m
equal parts exhausted and exhilarated, and equal parts surprised but unsurprised.

for the sake of chronology, i should probably mention that my cohort and i arrived in galveston late friday night/saturday morning, around 2 am. we checked into a motel on the coastline and crashed out for a wee bit of sleep before reporting for duty this morning.

galveston, for those of you who don’t know, is an island off the coast of texas, about 40 miles south of houston. it served as the largest port in the u.s. prior to the 1900 hurricane that nearly decimated the city and once served as the center of the slave trade back in its heyday. it is also incredibly charming, surprisingly beautiful, intriguing as all get out, and home to the most wonderful people i’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

that being said, i have to give a special shout out to texas and texans, who have, in every possible way, defied every stereotype the media (as well as most texans i’ve ever met) has portrayed. the texans i’ve met on this trip (all 800 miles worth of them) have been friendly, warm, inviting, conversational, interesting, and kind. i have a new respect for texas and texans. for real.

my cohort and i reported for duty at 9 am yesterday morning at obama’s headquarters on broadway at 21st street. the space was chock full of obama enthusiasts, many of whom came from california, as well as many other states, to do what my cohort and i are doing. we are energetic, dedicted, and working our asses off for the sake of a change in the world.
first order of business, canvassing.

canvassing means that my cohort and i were given a very long list of names and addresses within a fairly small area, called a precinct. we were to walk the neighborhood, knock on the doors of the people on the list, and remind them to vote on tuesday, attend a caucus tuesday night, offer a ride to the polling stations, and answer any questions they may have about the process or the candidate.

while walking streets in a strange town probably doesn’t sound all that appealing on its face, it was actually exhilarating. i met dozens of people, had dozens of conversations about barack obama and why i traveled all the way from los angeles to campaign for him on my own dime, and heard dozens of others’ stories about why they are or why they aren’t voting for him. i talked to people about the issues most important to them and how difficult a decision it’s been trying to choose between clinton and obama. i canvassed from about 10 am to about 5pm. i’m sunburned, my body is weary, i can feel exhaustion in every muscle, bone, and tendon, and i can’t wait to get started again.

after the canvassing ended, i went back to headquarters, made phone calls for a couple of hours, and then headed downtown for an art-walk with several other campaigners i met throughout the day. the art walk was an absolute blast! we had a table set up outside one of the galleries of a fellow obama supporter, directly across the street from the gallery camp clinton was set up. i stood on the sidewalk with my clipboard, asking everyone who walked by, “have y’all voted? would you mind telling me who you voted for?”

i heard every single possible response. most were favorable, many were not. one particularly grumpy old man responded that he wasn’t voting because, “you’ve got a thief over there and a dumb ass over here.” huh, really? hillary is a thief? obama is a dumbass? i couldn’t imagine any thinking american using either of those adjectives to describe anyone other than the village idiot and his cronies who currently resides in the white house…

i campaigned yesterday for 14 hours and i cannot wait to do it again… i’ve never in my life felt like i was truly part of something so world changing, so impactful, so extraordinary. and i can’t imagine a better group of dedicated, intelligent, thought-provoking people to be taking this journey with. i really can’t.

this blog cross posted at daily kos.

No comments:

Post a Comment