I’ve been going back and forth about whether to volunteer for the campaign, as I did in 2008. I’m proud of what little I could do back then, what with having a one-year-old child, a three-year-old child, a husband who traveled a lot, as well as nearly two weeks in September that required severe to moderate isolation after I had radio-iodine therapy to get rid of some remaining thyroid cancer. (That sounds so passive-agressive. I don’t mean to sound that way, I promise.)
Anyway. I did what I could, bringing the kids by in a stroller to pick up call sheets, the kids searching the campaign office for candy, standing in front of a life-size photo of Barack Obama and saying “Hi Bock Obama!”
I made hundreds of phone calls. I remember being laughed at by one guy, being praised by several, and just being told thank you by most. My favorite conversation was with an undecided Republican voter. All we did was talk about Iraq. She had a grandson there. She was very concerned that Senator McCain would keep that war going. I told her that one reason I preferred Obama to McCain (and Obama to his primary challengers months earlier) was the simple fact that Obama never thought the war was a good idea, and he wanted the troops home as soon as possible. I listened to her. She listened to me. She told me, at the end of our conversation–a relatively long one–that she planned to vote for Obama, because I was reasonable. Nobody on the other side had ever sounded reasonable to her.
This time, I have to admit some fear about who might be on the receiving end of my calls. Today, for example, I made the mistake of reading a neighbor’s facebook post about the attacks on our diplomats in Egypt and Libya. Kind of like reading Rush Limbaugh’s wall, I’d imagine.
Romney was, at best, unreasonable. It was a disturbing thing to watch. Mostly though? Catalyzing.
A friend from the 2008 campaign called later in the afternoon to ask if I could attend a phone bank for President Obama tonight. I didn’t have a sitter and my husband’s out of town, so I didn’t think I could make it. She said, “bring the kids.” I was reluctant.
We continued to talk about the state of the campaign, and of Romney’s actions that day. I started to feel a little… what’s the phrase? Fired up. Our son came to me asking me for some apples. I asked him to wait, as I was on the phone.
I laughed with my friend, saying, “I guess I can cut apples and talk on the phone at the same time…. Wait, what time does the phone bank start?”
A few hours later, we went up to the campaign office, just a mile away. It was packed. It was glorious. We couldn’t stay long this time (I’m a bit rigid when it comes to bedtime for the kids), but I’ll be back.
And so will he.