Thursday, October 19, 2006

Electoral Process

It's the least I can do for my broken country: I volunteer one hour a week calling voters. I've divided it into 15 minutes 4 times a week, but I don't think I'll ever get used to it.

"Do you support the Democrat Ken Lucas sir?"
(Drunkenly) "All the Democrats."

"Do you support the Democrat, ma'am?"
(Matter of factly) "I don't vote." The most disturbing reponse of all!

In between, I reach the snarlers: "None of those idiots!"

and the persons tremulous from God-knows-what "This just isn't a good TIME right now!" These make me feel bad. What is it, their father's funeral? A marital argument? A souffle interrupted?

Some just hang up, or say, "Not interested." Some people respond, "Could you please take my name off the list?"

Of course few love receiving political calls (just politely ask them to take your name off the list), and it's tedious to make them, too. But knocking on doors, accosting persons on the street, and telephoning them at home are long-standing campaigning tactics. I may be living in an off-the-rails, badly governed nation, but for 15 minutes 4 times a week, I can experience that we still have a semblance of an electoral process.

Every now and then there's a fun one, like the woman who called me to ask my vote for Deval Patrick. "Don't worry," I told her, "I'm making calls for for"

"Oh, keep it up," she said, "thank you."

"Thank you, too," I said.

I haven't had an answer like that in 102 phone calls, but we still 9 15-minutes sessions to go.


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