On Saturday afternoon, I canvassed for the Obama campaign. Goal number one: register my targets to vote. Goal number two: determine for whom they are planning to vote. Goal number three: persuade them to vote for President Obama.
This was the first time I'd ever gone door-to-door on behalf of a presidential candidate. Despite years of comfort (as a PR pro) pitching to strangers on the phone, I was nervous to make the "cold call" in person. I drove with a friend over to the home of the volunteer hosting the campaign organizer for the day's activities. The organizer briefly explained the assignment and sent me off into my neighborhood.
"Knock, knock." Phew. Not home.
Oh (door opens). "Hi. I'm Evelyn. I'm your neighbor here in A-Lake and I'm out today making sure you are registered to vote ..."
A couple of more houses, and I was beginning to get my groove. Then, the "I will definitely be canvassing again" moment: a great conversation with Rick, who told me that while he'd voted for Obama in '08, he was currently undecided. Rick and I talked about his business and his concerns about the economy. We chatted about the Republican's infuriating application of small government to taxes only; when it comes to what we do in our bedrooms and decide in our doctor's offices, they want to legislate, even amend the Constitution. I left Rick with some campaign literature. He left me with insight into the very real power of a one-on-one conversation in one neighborhood in one city to make a difference.
If you think that your vote doesn't matter, please think again. In a recent speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Michelle Obama drew comparisons between turning out the vote to the civil rights struggles of the past. "Make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time," Obama said. "Marching door-to-door registering people to vote, marching everyone you know to the polls every single election." This, she said, "is the movement of our era - protecting that fundamental right, not just for this election but the next generation and generations to come."
Please let me know if you would like to join me. Please click here to learn more about the Obama campaign's voter turnout initiative - It Takes One. And please vote.