A volunteer’s dilemma

24 Dec 2007 07:21 pm
Posted by: Krista

I was having lunch with one of my best friends yesterday.  We’ve known each other for 22 years – since third grade when we pretended we were in a famous girl rock band, laughed non-stop because the heroes in a story we wrote were having Lucky Charms for breakfast, and played we were Trixie Belden and Honey Wheeler on the trail of solving a murder mystery.  She has been a stalwart friend of mine for decades.

Over lunch, she mentioned the Obama campaign called her.  I know most people don’t get excited about things like that, but I did. 

Me: That’s so cool!  What did they ask you about?

Friend: I told them I didn’t want to talk.  I wasn’t in the mood.

I was silent for a moment. 

Deflated. Disappointed.

And not one to keep my mouth shut.

Me: That steals all hope for this election right out of my body.

Her eyes widened in shock at my dramatics.

Me: It’s just sad when an informed person such as yourself doesn’t want to talk to them.  And that should have been an easy call for that volunteer.  One that would have gotten them through the next few rotten calls.  Because, let’s face it, people don’t like it when you call them.  But as a candidate or volunteer, what else are you supposed to do to reach people? 

She said she didn’t know but that it just wasn’t a good time for her. 

I understand that, and I know she’s had a tough couple of weeks. However, it still makes me sad. 

We face a dilemma as volunteers and candidates.  If we want to win, we have to talk to as many voters as possible.  But a lot of voters don’t want to take time out of their lives to join in political discussion.  We have to decide whether to be assertive and attempt to draw them out anyway or to leave them alone for fear of antagonizing them. 

During the 2006 coordinated campaign, a voter told me if I called again he’d hunt me down like the dog I was. In 2004, an Independent ridiculed me for being a Democrat, yelled at me about Kerry, and slammed the door in my face. It’s almost enough to make a volunteer gun-shy about volunteering.

Almost, but not quite.  There may be moments of hopelessness, but we do not have a choice for this election.  We can’t be gun-shy about knocking on a door, making a phone call, or talking to our neighbors.  Our country is falling apart around our ears, and we’re almost to the point of no return. 

This is what I’ll be thinking about when I roll down your sidewalk, in full campaign mode, to knock on your door and chat with you about the next election. 

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