This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Canvassing for Obama

Last night, CJ, Mimi and I volunteered with one of my most favoritist people, Elizabeth, for Obama's reelection campaign and canvassed a portion of [scary] Cary.

I've known Elizabeth for many years and she is one amazing person. There are many things I can go on about her: she creates beautiful, unique jewelry, not only does she sell it, but she is part of the Carolina Designer Craftsman Guild and helps to set up its annual show, which is held Thanksgiving weekend.

She cooks WONDERFUL gourmet meals (my family and I have been treated to this and I expect more in the future), she MAKES handmade chocolates, some with her homestate Kentucky bourbon (Tim's favorites), and she is extremely, politically active. She is well-connected - but you never would know it because she doesn't brag or boast, nor does she do it to BE well-connected...she's just that way because of her passion for the things that I just mentioned above, and more.  She's just an amazing person, with a big heart, who has taken great care of her elderly parents, and once you enter her circle of friendship, you are warmly welcomed and FEEL like you are THE well-connection in her life.  I love her for thank you Elizabeth, for being my friend. You are such a wonderful inspiration to me.

So when I mentioned that another mutual friend, Sam, and I stopped by the Cary Obama campaign office and signed up as volunteers, she told me about her experiences canvassing. It sounded fascinating and she invited me to do it with her. We set up a date and last night was it. I invited CJ and Mimi, which amazingly, CJ ended up being excited about it.

We met at Five Guys to have a quick bite and fuel up before we hit the pavement. I was very happy to see how comfortable CJ was at talking, while very little, but she's usually not talkative at all with anyone outside her friends and us. She doesn't even talk to other family members. But with Elizabeth, she spoke right off the bat.

After our meal, we headed to the campaign office to find out what neighborhood we would be canvassing. There we met Cathy and she gave us the rundown of what we would expect, as we went to meet people. For those who haven't done this before, canvassing is targeted to registered Democrats and Independents who have not voted in either the last two elections and have not yet voted in *this* election (we have early voting in North Carolina). Or, more often than not, they are first time registered voters: 18, 19, 20, 21 year olds who were not old enough to vote in the last election.

We visit them, ask them if they are aware of early voting, where their nearest early voting location site is, and if they plan to support our President. We fill out a form that gives them the location details, the time to go, and a slate of Democratic party candidates to reference.

As I mentioned before, surprisingly, CJ had fun. That evening, afterward, I took her to Barnes & Noble to buy the CD of her choice as a reward for her great effort. In the car, she said it was the best day ever. She did say she didn't think she could do this by herself. I said 'because it would be scary?' She replied 'No, because I would be angry at anyone that said they were voting for Romney.'

Meeting people was the most fascinating part of this. I love people-watching, or interacting with people by observation. I think sociology or some type of psychology would have been a good career choice for me. Fortunately, I'm in that type of career now, somewhat.

The standouts for me:

Walking up to a house where a car with a "Parent of a marine" bumper sticker, ringing the door bell, then having the door swing open rather abruptly with a very muscular, young "marine" in a wife-beater stare at us bug-eyed. I mean, look at each one of us (all four of us) intensely. And he was the target. Elizabeth spoke to him about early voting. I was thinking: a marine. A new Jaguar, a new Saab, and a convertible in the driveway. I'm not thinking they are Obama supporters. And when she said: will you be supporting our President? I heard his mom from upstairs yell down "Yes! His mom and dad already voted for Obama!!!" He managed a bewildered look upstairs and stared back at us without acknowledgement or denial. He took our literature and stared back at us and I think he said thank you.

At an Asian family's house, I could see a young tween see us at the door. He didn't open it (good choice) and called for others. Eventually, I saw about four others come to the door. It took a second or two, then the door opens and an older gentleman asks, with about six pairs of eyes looking at us, 'can i help you?' Elizabeth asks if we can speak to "Jimmy", who is supposed to be 70 years old. The older gentleman says 'Um, there is no Jimmy here...I think you have the wrong..." and then a kid on the staircase in the background says "Oh, that's our uncle!" and then some murmurs and someone else says "No, that's our grandpa."  We learn that Jimmy is traveling back to China. But to go from 'there's no Jimmy, to he's the uncle, to he's our Grandpa', was pretty hilarious.

There was the guy in the empty house (just moved in? moving out?) who came to the door breathing heavily and in a panicked state. Did he just do something bad? Before Elizabeth could say anything, he said "wait, I need to get my baby." Um. Okay. He was gone not even 30 seconds and when he came back to us, there was no baby. He continued to pant, and just had this look of paleness and dramatic-ness that it took everything in me not to laugh. He stated he was an Independent and did not want to share who he was voting for. Fair enough. As we walked away, I told CJ and Mimi not to say anything until we got into the car but Elizabeth blurts out "I thought he was going to pass out or something!"

Lastly, we met an older middle eastern gentleman who greeted us with "who are you supporting" with his wonderful accent. I love those accents...and Russian ones too. ANYWAY, we said Obama and he said "Ah, you are safe with me." Great. I didn't know I was in any danger. Really, he was jovial so I didn't feel in danger but it was just a funny use of words. He chatted with us a bit - talking about how he couldn't understand there was still "red"...meaning people supporting Romney. It was just dumbfounding to him. But his wife and daughter had already voted for Obama and he and his son were voting Tuesday for him...and he is very worried. He was asking US, what do we think will happen. "It's very close. So please, make your vote on Tuesday. Every vote counts!" Elizabeth added "Take all your friends with you!"

There were others along the way. Anyone that we saw that supported Obama were happy to hear from us. We only met one house that stated outright they were not voting for Obama but we could sense from a few others, like drama-panting-where's-your-baby-man, that they were leaning right. But they were still nice to us and we had nice interactions overall. I would definitely do this again and it made me consider being more proactive in politics.

It was a great evening. The weather was wonderful. The company was wonderful.

I asked CJ: what is it that you like about Obama? The first thing she said was: "he likes gay people and is trying to provide equal rights for them". I loved that. One of our new favorite shows is The New Normal and the episode where the gay couple are in the department store and kiss, and a father with his family sees this and says something to the effect that they are setting a bad example in front of his kids, she literally was angry and pissed and yelling at the TV. That came from her heart and soul and it made me proud. I didn't do that. For you religious folks, your god did that. That is what comes with being a good person with a moral character.

One of the other things she said that I love love love was: 'Obama seems like he treats everyone like a friend, like you matter. If I met him, he seems like he would try to remember me. Like he cares about who I am. Like the time that girl couldn't remember her question during the debate, and he said to her 'you're doing fine'. But Romney, he doesn't seem like he would care to remember who I was.'

So profound and an amazing observation that I thought: wow. She summed him up exactly how I think about him too.


  1. I'm so glad we all did this together!! You really captured the spirit of the evening and I love CJ's observations about Obama and Romney - very smart girl :)

    Wow, I didn't know I was well-connected with anything - I just know an interesting hodge-podge of people :) If my parents can continue to do okay in assisted living, I am going on a cooking binge after the holidays because I've lost my focus on that after being gone a total of 8 weeks this summer!

    Thanks for the reminder about candy supplies (boxes & cups) - I will order them tonight so I'm ready to start production right after Thanksgiving!!

    XOXO, Elizabeth

  2. And while many of our NC state Dems lost, we won many important races: The Presidency, + 5 Senate seats, and many others. It was all because people like us cared about the outcome an volunteered to let people know that they votes mattered. Although NC didn't go for Obama, Wake Co. did!!

  3. One last comment: Just think about how the Supreme Court will look before 2016. That, alone, was worth it!!