Monday, November 17, 2008

grassroots campaigning

i know i already wrote about my time in southwest virginia, but there are just a few more stories i feel compelled to share, like how i ended up there.

obviously, barack's entire campaign strategy was unheard of. the sense that we could all make a difference and contribute was palpable. i have a friend who has never before voted, or even had an opinion about a campaign. inspired by barack's message, she donated hundreds of dollars over the months leading up to november 4th. another friend has always cared, but knew she had to do more this time. she phone banked for barack and gave money that she couldn't afford to give. we all did. and when i couldn't give more money, i went to virginia. baltimore was going blue, but virginia might not. i was sent to appalachia because it was notoriously red. even democrats who had supported hillary were openly admitting that they would vote for mccain rather than vote for a black man.

getting out the vote, and getting out the truth, were so important.

in a trailer park, a man told me he wouldn't be voting, 'cause he didn't care and nothing was going to change. i told him that if there were ever a time, this was it. he would be voting in a swing region of a swing state, and he mattered. he walked away, but half a minute later he turned around. he said, "see the thing is, i heard barack was going to take away my right to hunt." dana-the other volunteer with me that day-was quick to dispel the untruth. barack supports safe gun ownership, and even had barns painted in appalachia to say so. seriously, in the same town where this man lived, this video was made:

the next day i was driving down a gravel road, and came upon a felled tree. i got out of my car to talk with a few people sitting around the tree, we talked obama, weather, and directions. in this same town, i had run into really helpful people. one woman had helped me locate her neighbors, and a man even let me ride on his mower when i couldn't drive to a couple of doors. so at this felled tree, a man on a log asked if i was lost. he looked familiar, and i asked if i had already knocked on his door. he and his friends cracked up. after a few moments, somebody finally told me he was "farmer tom" from Survivor, season 3. seriously, google it. that's him.

okay, just one more quick story. a woman in our area, a registered democrat, called our office to ask for help. she was pregnant, and to my knowledge healthy and doing well. but on november 4th, this woman had a miscarriage. she was at the hospital, experiencing an emotionally and physically traumatic loss. still, she found a little strength to pick up the phone, to call us and ask if she could still vote. we were all so moved; i cannot wrap my mind around it. tara, our brilliant and hardworking regional campaign coordinator, went into action, getting an emergency absentee ballot to this woman.

my stories are just from a few days spent in one little corner of this country, but i have the sense that there are so many other people with so many other stories like mine from this campaign. and corny as it may sound, i feel completely inspired.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Wow! It's amazing what a difference can be made when we invest in people's lives!