Monday, October 20, 2008

October 2008 Activity -- Canvassing for Barack Obama

October 26, 2008
McLean, VA

Fortunately, your dilettantes are all Obama supporters, or it may have been even tougher to convince them all to participate in this decidedly DC activity. (A couple of them are uncharacteristically shy about even making phone calls -- and that's to people they know. Knocking on doors of strangers was definitely a bit of a leap outside the comfort zone.)

Dilettante Amanda was lucky enough to see Obama at his Leesburg rally on October 22nd, so now that they're BFFs, she was feeling particularly inspired about helping his campaign.

We met at the McLean Obama headquarters office at about 3:30 (although Nicole was there at 2:30, and thought we were playing some kind of cruel joke on her). We weren't, we were just running late. So she got the orientation and learned what we were going to be doing. When the rest of us got there, we went through the brief orientation, at the end of which, some overly excited volunteer put her camera practically up our nostrils to take an individual picture of each of us for posting on some wall somewhere. (We don't know what this was about, but we did feel a bit of sympathy for one of the organizers who looked like he had been dealing with that for some time.)

After the HQ briefing (I've always wanted to say that), we headed to an organizer's house in McLean to pick up our packet with all of the addresses we were to visit and learned how to fill out our paperwork based on the interactions we had.

Finally...we were off. We drove to the neighborhood in which we'd be canvassing and jumped excitedly out of the car (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha -- that's for the benefit of the one dilettante who was getting physically sick at the prospect of knocking on doors and needed to be pried out of the car with a crowbar). We all did manage to walk up to doors, and we all rotated turns so that everyone had to take the lead a few times each.

And you know what? It was pretty interesting. Most interactions were very pleasant. We spoke to a few people who were voting for the opposing candidates and would not be swayed and they were respectful. We also spoke to many Obama supporters who were very enthusiastic. A couple of these people were eligible to vote early and were not aware, so we definitely provided some great information to those houses. There were also many houses where people were not at home, so we made a note that other canvassers should visit those homes again before election day.

Only a couple of times did we get a bit of a door slam in the face, but it was really more figurative...more of a brush off and a firm closing of the door than an actual slam.

We ended the evening at Stray Cat Cafe over dinner and beers (and hot tea, ahem...) and a discussion about why Barack Obama truly is the Change We Need. Please go to for information on his position on issues that are important to you. (And definitely use the tax calculator tool -- it's great.)