Today the girls and I went out for another day of knocking on doors to get out the vote for Obama. This time, however, we were paired with Larry, a doctoral candidate in the School of Education, who was out for the first time volunteering.
When we started, I was really hoping that he would experience the same feeling of empowerment that I have come to feel each time I muster the courage to go door to door canvassing. The day started slowly as there were no answers at the first few doors on which we knocked. Then we came to a house where someone came to the door and motioned that he was not interested. Just as I was beginning to feel depressed for Larry, we knocked on the door of a strong supporter who was even willing to volunteer on election day.
Larry and I were rejuvenated by this response and proceeded to happily work through the rest of our assigned addresses, with Chloe helping a bit with the parking lot driving, and Hannah happily sleeping in the back. (If you look closely at the picture to the right, you can see her napping.)
Today we were knocking on the doors of all the houses that had no answers yesterday. While we are out there, another two volunteers were going through the same neighborhood putting signs on the door nobs of the houses of likely voters indicating where their polling place was and giving them information about voting.
Again, I was very impressed by the organization of the campaign materials and those training the volunteers. The Obama office in State College was buzzing with volunteers young and old. An eighty year old woman was behind us as we were picking up our packet and she said she was there to work the phones. I met a student I had last year in my first year seminar at Penn State, Stephanie Marek, who was calling off-campus students to make sure they knew where to vote and that there were also down ticket candidates for whom it was important to vote. We saw dozens of young out-of-state volunteers catching a bite to eat before going back out canvassing.
It was really quite inspiring to see so many people so motivated and engaged. This year is different for so many reasons, but most of all, it is different because so many people have felt empowered to participate in the political process and have been given an avenue through which to channel this very positive political energy.
The polls open here in Pennsylvania in about 34 hours …