It took 5 hours to drive from Chicago to Wausau. Last night at the local Democratic HQ, David, a campaign worker from NY, explained that Wausau is right in the middle of the state, surrounded by rural areas, and can be called a "swing district of a swing state." David had to miss Kerry's massive rally in Madison on Thurs but can console himself with the knowledge that Wausau's central and swing qualities have made it the choice of NBC Nightly News for election night coverage. I'm excited. They'll have several correspondents throughout the country and one will broadcast reports from our Kerry headquarters. I had no idea heading out to central WI would put me so close to an election night spotlight. Sometimes life works.
Last night I phonebanked: called Democratic voters, asked if they're voting, do they know where to vote, do they need a ride. Had sympathy for undecided's since they have so much pressure on them: they see two crappy candidates to choose from, but constantly hear how the election is on their shoulders. I spoke to one confused and frustrated voter who said he's been disappointed and disgusted by how the candidates have conducted their campaigns. He said both Bush and Kerry have done nothing but talk badly about each other and if they've done half the stuff they've accused each other of, they should both be in jail. What could I say? I agreed that neither of the candidates has been strictly honorable and yes, their campaigns have disintegrated into name calling and badmouthing. I offered my sympathy to the man, thanked him for voting whichever way he decided, and hung up.
I did what? I didn't stick up for my candidate, the one I just drove across the state to canvass for? What kind of campaign worker am I? Actully, I think I'm a realistic one. After watching the South Park lampoon of this year's election, I had to admit that despite my personal animosity for Bush and dedication to Kerry, this kind of IS a stupid electtion with two sorry candidates. Election 2004 is pretty much a repeat of election 2000 with its barely literate Republican candidate and its tepid Democratic candidate and the only real difference is that this time the Democratic party has its pollwatchers and legal counsel ready for any Republican election fraud. As I listened to the undecided voter voice his disgust with the both of them I felt like saying, "You're right! George Bush sucks dog penis and John Kerry sucks the tiny green 3-incher!"
But I didn't. (The South Park episode I refer to aired on Comedy Central on Wed and you can probably catch the second airing if you look for it, maybe Sun. I recommend it.)
But, reflecting on all of it, I confirm that whether the emperor wears clothes or really should put on some sunscreen, it's "forward march!" for me. Today I'll join the group of Chicago volunteers who will canvass the surrounding cities of Merrill and Mosinee. We'll do the same thing we did on the phone tonight: ask if they're voting for Kerry, do they know where to vote, do they need a ride. Mission til Tues: by phone or by foot make sure all Kerry supporters actually vote!
(If anyone needs to know, I'm at Baymont Inn in Wausua, WI).