Tuesday, December 20, 2005

helping the cause

Alex and I volunteered at Dawn Black's campaign office today. Alex did data entry all day, sitting in a back room transferring information from yellow slips into a computer program that's keeping track of people who are willing to volunteer, put a lawn sign, make a financial contribution or all of the above. I feel proud of him. From what I could overhear from where I sat, he was doing a good job and having a good time with the campaign worker at the computer area. At the end of the shift he got a letter, and I took a photograph for his graduation portfolio (for the next 3 years he has to document and store every bit of good he does in the world in order to be admitted to adulthood at the end of Grade 12 by the ministry of education).

I did telephone canvassing all day. Mostly I left messages on answering machines, but I talked to quite a few people too. My job was to call through the voters' list, ask for the voter's support for Dawn and the NDP, and record the answer. My ear is still jangling a little from curt responses and hangups, but that's part of the territory. Mostly I got polite "undecideds" and a few "won't says." Maybe it's early in the campaign, but mostly I think people really don't like to talk about their own politics. It's the same feeling you get when you knock on someone's door to ask for a donation to The Heart and Stroke Fund or Cancer Society. There's something really uncomfortable about asking people to put their money or their vote on the line for someone else to see and know about. And phoning their house, asking for them by name and then asking about who they're going to vote for is intrusive, but that's how elections are won.

In the 2004 federal election, the NDP lost by just 115 votes in our riding. If every volunteer canvasser wakes up just one voter per shift during the course of the campaign and inspires/reminds/nudges that voter to vote for our candidate, we will win. I hope one of the yeses I got today will help make the difference.

We left the office in the late afternoon to get to the orthodontist. Alex said it felt like walking out of the movie theatre back into the real world. He's a smart one, that kid.

question: I won't ask it, enough already today

mompoet - walking through ooky-land for a good cause

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