Sunday, April 03, 2005

Door Knocking

I spent the afternoon knocking on doors in my neighbourhood with Karen Rockwell. It's always funny to find out how people will respond when you arrive at their door uninvited. I've knocked for Scout bottle drives, chocolate sales and popcorn sales, Girl Guide cookie sales, canvassing for Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Kinsmen, and a couple of times gathering proxies for strata meetings when we were scheduled to vote on contentious issues. It's remarkable how many people have dogs who I have never met before, even though we live on the same street. Ditto cats. It's remarkable how many people wear their pajamas or bathrobes in the afternoon on the weekend, and answer the door in them very comfortably. It's interesting how uncomfortable people are when you stand on their doorstep, so much so, that there are always a few who peek through the peephole and tiptoe away.

Today most people who were home opened their doors. Karen took one side of the street and I took the other. We visited about 200 homes. She is very good at meeting the public, and struck up conversations at quite a few doorsteps. My job was to say I was out with Karen, hand out a flier and offer to have Karen come over to chat if anyone wanted to meet her. We got lots of indications of support, including many who say they'll vote for Karen, and a few who are willing to have campaign signs up out front. One man told me that he had never voted before and will probably never vote in his life. Wow! I wonder if he meant it or if that's the campaign version of telling the telephone solicitor that the person who she asked for is dead. Only 5 people flat out refused to take the printed information. One said he didn't need it, he was already sure he'd vote for Karen.

It's intriguing to me how all of this works. Karen told me she has been knocking on doors since January. This is how she successfully campaigned for her City Councillor job. Signs are important too, although I can't figure out why so many signs are needed. I get it that neighbours see a sign on another neighbour's lawn and say, "Hey, Martha's voting for Karen. Maybe I'll vote for Karen too." But dozens of signs on the boulevard? How does that do any good? I think it's obnoxious and insults the intelligence of the voter. It implies that if I read Bob's name 14 times, and Harry's name 40 times, I'll vote for Harry. But I guess it must work, because they do it. I'll have to ask one of the campaign organizers if there's any research to support this practice.

Now I'm back inside my nice warm house. My husband is cooking supper. My son has agreed to go out next weekend and help put up signs. I'm learning about things I didn't know about before and enjoying some intriguing people-watching along the way.

Question: how could you not vote ever?

mompoet - knock-knock-knocking

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