Monday, November 01, 2004

Winning Wisconsin, Part 5

[BTW: many thanks to my "partner" who drove here from Chicago with me and who is sharing a hotel room with me and who's as big a cybergeek as I am. I'd never met her before. We were paired by Illinois for Kerry who organized this whole "vacation." We both brought laptops with us, but she actually has the equipment to log on from our hotel room. I'm SO GLAD or else I'd be cyberless for 6 whole days - unacceptable!!]

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me encouraging emails and comments. It really helps to know you appreciate my efforts out here. And it makes me feel less lonely (Wausau reminds me of Ithaca: population 38,000 and out in the middle of nowhere). So thank you!

Today I and two other Chicago canvassers headed out to Tomohawk, WI. I canvassed 20 houses. Of those that were home and willing to talk, 5 were Kerry voters and 1 was Bush. One woman answered the door, took one look at my Kerry button and said, “We’re not interested,” and closed the door. Some people are like that and I’m used to it by now. Some are really, really, really sick of the whole election.

As I watch tv back at the hotel, I can see why. Sometimes an entire commercial break is a political ad for Kerry, then one for Bush, then one for Kerry, then one for Bush, then back to the program. Of course, these ads aren’t really “for” anyone: it would be more accurate to say they’re “against Bush” and “against Kerry,” etc. It’s bad. I can’t imagine watching tv and having to put up with this for months. It’s been months of these increasingly emotional ads. When I add to that the number of phone calls and canvassers the average Wisconite has had by this point, I feel sympathy for the people who close the door on me.

We came back to the headquarters after Tomohawk (which was a 40 minute drive away), had cold pizza and cookies, and it was back out to canvass in Wausau. Tonight we were going back to the houses where there was no answer before. I talked to a few more Kerry people, including a man who said he wanted to vote for Kerry, but he’s a hunter and he heard Kerry is going to take people’s guns away. I told him Kerry is a hunter, too, and has been since he was a boy and has no intention of taking people’s guns away. I also said that he does have the right to bear arms and that’s a constitutional right. I never expected to be saying pro-gun stuff like that! Euw. Oh, well. He kept saying, worriedly, that he’s a hunter and each time he did I said that Kerry’s a hunter, too. I think he was reassured by the end of our exchange. I told him one thing that I truly do believe: I said, “If everyone who says they’re going to vote for Kerry actually does vote for Kerry tomorrow, he’s in. Kerry will win.”

After canvassing all day, some of us prepared door-hanger literature to drop off for tomorrow. I thought we'd be making more phone calls, but apparently all calls have been made. The organizers were saying that we are really on top of everything right now. In fact, not only are we not rushing around at the last minute, but the organizers are triple checking to make sure they haven't missed anything because we are so well-accomplished in our phone calling and canvassing.

Tonight I and the other volunteers feel happy, optimistic, excited about election day, “E-Day." We know Kerry’s going to win and it’s going to be so great to celebrate it here in Wisconsin. These people have worked HARD. There will be a big victory party and I’m looking forward to being able to relax and stop knocking on people’s doors! The weather has been excellent, which is to say it’s been dry and not too cold. I’m SO GLAD there has been so little rain. But tonight it was in the 30’s and that was a bit chilly. I have to be healthy for my gig this Saturday at the Red Line Tap!

Here’s the plan for me for tomorrow:

7:00 a.m. “Visibility” which means waving signs and showing great enthusiasm for Kerry at the busiest intersection in Wausua. Getting the spirit up for Kerry is important in this relatively conservative area.

10 am to 7:30 pm CANVASS, CANVASS, CANVASS and call, call, call. Anyone we find at home during the day who hasn’t voted we beg, cajole and wheedle to the polling booth because the poll lines will be LONG after work. We go back and re-call and/or re-visit every single home where we have identified a Kerry voter. Every single one. We make sure they vote. Whatever it takes, we get very single one who said they would support Kerry to the poll by 8 pm when the Wisconsin polls close. Maybe there will be a lunch break, maybe not, who knows. We’ll probably grab slices of donated pizza and keep going through the afternoon and evening.

7:30 pm Stop canvassing and calling. Go back to headquarters and watch giant tv at our Wausau Kerry Victory Party!

Hope for final announcement of Kerry’s victory by midnight. Relish Bush’s concession speech. KNOW WE HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD.

I’ll blog again after Kerry’s been elected….! It’s like Christmas eve!

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