Door to Door Experiences
Canvassing Was Not as Scary as I Thought
Against my better judgement, I let myself agree to canvass for the first time last Saturday. I'm an introvert by nature and was quite nervous about being face to face with possibly argumentative strangers.
I started cramming talking points and facts about the candidates. As it turned out, I didn't need them. Canvassers were supplied with a packet containing a suggested speech and some easy questions to ask.
We started driving, paying close attention to Google Maps! Folks on our list were mostly for Conor and didn't need convincing. (The lone Saccone supporter we encountered was very polite.) I happened to have some yard signs in my car and folks were eager to let us place them.
My partner and I agreed to alternate speaking and note-taking, but it quickly turned out my partner was a gifted speaker. We encountered many “Not Home” voters, and there were some errors in our list, but we pressed on fearlessly.
After deep breathing and meditating I will be out again soon.
Pro tip: Download the MiniVAN app from ngpVAN
A Canvassing Virgin
“I’m a virgin,” I said to the few people that began the gathering at a volunteer’s house. “I have never canvassed for a political candidate before.” Why hadn’t I? I have strong convictions; women should govern their own bodies, funding for public education, African American civil rights, LGBT nondiscrimination action, gun regulations and affordable health care. I have a laundry list! This is the day I take steps beyond counterpointing in social media, beyond my anger and bafflement over what is happening in this current administration. I am taking it to my streets, door to door!
The small number of canvassers was growing by ones and twos until we had become a group. Everyone was introducing themselves, sharing their experiences and giving tips. One being use MiniVAN to record your interviews! (I thought the reference was a vehicle, it’s an app!) The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm. We all chose the area we wanted to cover and collected our list of names and addresses. Time to pair up! Everyone brought a buddy, so the two newbies made a go of it together, me and Paul. I was anxious but excited.
Paul and I drove and walked through our list of addresses using Google maps along Painter Run Road. We found a woman who had just moved into a home and amidst all her chaos she took the time to chat and concluded by agreeing to put a sign in her lawn. The next house was a woman who told us about her job as a medical equipment provider; how she got a call on New Year’s Eve to drive to Green County to deliver a life saving device. The husband hugged her and cried in gratitude of her service and it was the best New Year’s Eve she ever had. We gave her an absentee ballot since she did not know if she would get a call on Election Day and a sign for her lawn. At another home, I flagged down a vehicle preparing to leave the drive way. As soon as the mother heard me say I was canvassing for Conor Lamb, She leapt out of her car and jubilantly proclaimed the entire end of her street was Conor Lamb country.
There were also the houses were no one was home, the address where there was no home, or the “No, I am not voting for him” response house. There was the man that claimed, “No, Christine is not here!” then adamantly, “I’m not lying”
I got to know a little about Paul during the day. He is retired engineer and his daughter moved to the area, then he and his wife move to be close to the grandchildren.
What I found by knocking on doors was look for the similarities. These are my earth neighbors. They are doing the best they can. When I feel disconnected to people to the pulse of the present agenda that is the time to pull them close not push them away. I know we can do better.