Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dancehall Democrats

"You Obama guys are literally at my door right now. Is this a joke? We’re just gonna go vote now.” - taken from a real volunteer's real conversation...

Word on the street is, we get out the vote. That is: New Yorkers on the phones at home, on the buses out-of-state, and Ohioans in the streets in their hometowns! My fellow campaigners in our Williamsburg location have dealt with a lot in the last 24 hours- buzzers that don't work, computers that don't work, volunteers with no phones or laptops, internet links that don't work, grumpy landlords, crowding, emptying, last-minute scheduling or connection changes. etc. All in a day's work, and that day was about 15 hours yesterday. As the Intake Director and Comfort Captain, my duties were signing people in and out, making sure they were well situated and in their seats working, and keeping them hydrated or fed. In this dancehall of an apartment, that is literally a calorie-burning enterprise! Today I have my laptop so I'm able to do more during the few down periods. It's just so exciting to see so many people come out, from different backgrounds and age brackets for a universal goal. I really have high hopes with just a little reserve for possible disappointment (which would be ludicrous, really!).

Our host was really great and definitely a connection I would want to keep. We have definitely had some interesting characters here as well, like the venerable Dr. Geronimo, a white-haired distinguished Black gentleman with gold construction hat and boots, a wheeled display box and a can-do attitude. Today our French expat with no cell phone arrived on Parisian time. We definitely enjoyed her entertaining phone voice. Then there was the apologetic woman with her dog (on-site!) that was very nicely loud in her regrets for "bothering people on a Saturday night". I'm still trying to determine if she was serious or sarcastic. I mean this whole event is called Get Out The Vote. No apologies! We even had a visiting Muslim Canadian woman today from the Social Democratic party representing for a second election. I especially loved last night's campaigning veteran who immediately had sour words about the computer-based predictive dialler and it's many inefficiencies. He requested call sheets and repeatedly made disparaging references to our logistics, but he definitely had an engaging phone personality and even offered to buy four pizzas. Not bad...

Some things I have learned...
1- The importance of constant encouragement to trainees, including knowing the roles of the other directors' in the likely event of a crisis.
2- And then there is Timothy Pancake... an interesting individual on many fronts, but unfortunately appears to be playing for the other team, and thus becomes the requisite stand-in for all recalcitrant Romney-supporters in Ohio. Don't be such a Timothy Pancake!
3- And my own coined term... hey Democrat Donkeys, Don't Be An Ass! Really, because the last thing we need is annoying uber-Dems turning people off and providing any credible (or non-credible) fodder for nay-sayers en masse!
4- Convicts can vote after having served their sentence in Ohio, they just need to re- register. Misdemeanors included.
5- This awesome location is historic, having been one of the headquarters of Ukrainian National Home, and it was also a well-known dancehall in the 1940s.
6- Ben, our fellow training director and erstwhile elementary school teacher is a lover of bananas. To the point that we are now sending him psychic messages to promote his potassium addiction. Although I also learned that bananas make you sleepy, which is why they are recommended before bedtime... but Ben is a crazy barrel of laughs anyway, so he is totally immune...
7- If you think that you might get a last-minute request from Colin because you are the kickingest-ass campaign team in Brooklyn, get ready to spend an extra hour-and-a-half "bringing your A-game!"

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the dispatches from the trenches because I can't Get Out the Vote with you to get us moving #Forward.

    When the madness is settled come visit me over at m blog (remember, I moved it).