I did a lot of canvassing for John Kerry in 2004. I swore I'd go to Wisconsin and work my tail off to make that state go blue (vote Democratic). And we did it! Wisconsin went blue. But it wasn't enough.
My heart was broken and I still haven't recovered. I liked Obama as a candidate, but just haven't been able to bring myself to commit that kind of time and energy again. Why kill myself just to lose another one? In 2004 I donated to John Kerry's campaign, held fundraisers, made phone calls, canvassed on Saturdays and even lived in a hotel in Wasau, WI for the last five days of the 2004 election, knocking on doors, facing down angry Republicans and eating pizza and fried chicken for every meal. In 2004 took everything I had and I threw it into getting a Democrat in the White House. There was nothing I wouldn't do. And it wasn't enough. Do I want to do that again?
No, I don't. And at this point of the election, after what I've heard and what I've seen, I don't believe in Obama, the Democratic Party or the political process. It's all crap. It's just a big ugly game that allows people like me to drain and exhaust ourselves cycle after cycle.
But I'm discovering that I'm much more driven by guilt and fear than I realized. Here's my discovery about myself: what's worse than working SO HARD and having the GOP win? Sitting around doing nothing and having the GOP win.
I can't live with myself if I don't act. I just can't. I want to save my time and money and spend my weekends with my new husband and enjoy a cozy autumn with him, but it's a f#$%-ing election year and I just can't do nothing, even though I don't believe, even though I feel nothing for Barack Obama, even though I know the Democrats suck and all I can do is spin my wheels with them.
My husband thinks political action makes me happy. It doesn't. He thinks I believe political action makes a difference. It doesn't. He thinks I believe that tomorrow will better. It won't.
This is what I get out of volunteering: the temporary abatement of the guilt of just standing by while the Dem's lose another one. So here I go.
For those who live anywhere near me in Chicago: WE NEED TO SWING IOWA. The GOP barely won this state in 2004. They're ripe. Who's with me?
There are organizations all over the Chicagoland area organizing buses and carpools on weekends to go down to Iowa and knock on doors. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive each way and in exchange, they feed you tepid meal, but we have to do it. For those of us in the blue state of Illinois, going down to Iowa is the most important thing we can do for the Obama campaign.
And here's the BIG PUSH: Sat. Nov 1 - Tue. Nov 4 (Election Day). Can you go to Iowa then? Donating money is great, but Obama also critically needs people on the ground in Iowa during those final days. Please email me at reginamrm at yahoo dot com for help finding an organization near you that you can hook up with. I'm working with the Democratic Party of Evanston (www.dpoe.org). We also need volunteers to make phone calls on Monday and Thursday nights to recruit others.
I have little interest in trying to persuade anyone to vote for a candidate I'm lukewarm about, plus I have no hope and know we're doomed, but this is still my election year motto:
The worst possibility isn't the Republicans winning. The worst possibility is the Republicans winning after I didn't do everything I could to stop them.