I’ve got fifteen minutes to kill while our traditional Sunday whole wheat spaghetti dinner is cooking, so I’ll use it to assuage my motionless-with-MoveOn Pac guilt. Right now Laurel is on the phone fulfilling her volunteer duties, making phone call after phone call to registered voters in our precinct who have been identified through some mysterious computerized process as possibly leaning toward Kerry, but not particularly likely to vote.
I hate to call strangers. I don’t even like to call friends all that much. I like communicating via weblog postings and email much better. So if you’re a voter in our Marion County precinct, #788 I think, Vote for Kerry! There, now I can tell MoveOn Pac (an offshoot of MoveOn.org) that I’ve been doing the best I can.
Which isn’t much. But earlier today, while Laurel was making more calls and I was taking my late afternoon nap, I attuned my dreams to course messages throughout the surrounding countryside, sending out Kerry positive vibrations to all of the undecided or wavering voters.
Admittedly, this is quite a stretch from what we were asked to do at our volunteer training last Friday. The gung ho MoveOn staffer said that we should drive around and make personal visits to the people on our list, most of whom we don’t know from Adam or Eve. Laurel and I immediately had a strong “oh no we won’t” reaction to this idea, as did several other rural residents at the training.
“Git the shotgun, Ma, and let loose the Rottweilers. I spy a blue Toyota Prius comin’ down the driveway, probably filled with god-damn tree huggin’ Kerry lovers who want us to piss away our vote on that a-hole.” That’s the welcome that we envisioned from many of the people in our area, which, judging by the count of Kerry (3) and Bush (9) lawn signs extending the five miles from the Salem city limits down Liberty to our house is pretty solid red country (and one of those three signs is ours).
Plus, country people aren’t used to unexpected visitors. In the fourteen years we’ve lived here we’ve had exactly zero trick-or-treaters. Just one or two school fund-raising requests. A handful of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A doorbell ringing after dark would freak us out, as it would many other isolated rural folks.
So we weren’t eager to go tooling around to farm houses with our MoveOn clipboard in hand, whether or not the voter inside was identified as someone amenable to Kerry’s message. Laurel has been getting a lot of “I’m for Bush” responses. But she also has talked with some genuinely undecided people who listened attentively to her vote for Kerry pleadings.
I admire what she’s doing. But, to borrow some phrases from a well-respected source, “We all want to change the world…Well, you know we’re doing what we can…Don’t you know it’s going to be all right…all right, all right.” Yes, it will be all right November 3, regardless. I do hope, though, that it will be all right in the Beatles’ sense, and not in the other sense.
[P.S. on Monday morning: today's Salem Statesman-Journal has a commentary by local columnist Jeanine Stice called "Fed up with partisan voters, swing voter seeks solitude." After writing about the frustration of being bothered again and again by clipboard toting advocates for one candidate/cause or another, she ends her piece with:
Since I'm paid for opinon, here's one: Let swinging voters enjoy their swing. In short, let us rest in piece. The more you ask me to support a cause, unless you can make me laugh, the faster I'll run the other direction. I like the word "independent." I value privacy. I'm not worried about the erosion of privacy under the Patriot Act. I've had more encroachment on my right to privacy by door-knockers. Just let me listen to the dog barking, the leaves falling and my boys playing on a Sunday afternoon.
Thanks for the thoughts, Jeanine. I feel better now about taking a nap yesterday instead of phoning people like you.]