It's not enough just to vote, take a more active role in election process
Published: Monday, August 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012 08:08
Before my summer class ended, my best friend DJ recommended to me that after all of my columns supporting the president I should turn my words into action by volunteering with the campaign. My best friend DJ can be very convincing in the advice department, and this time I accepted his challenge.
I ended up joining Organizing for America, which is a community organizing project with the Democratic National Committee. Through phone banks and traveling door to door, we are trying to get folks excited about voting for President Obama in 2012.
The first time I did a phone bank was in my hometown of Cape Coral a few weeks ago. I got hooked right away. Once I got the script down, along with what events to promote for that week, I began to loosen up. I develop on my own call system and use my own wonderful personality in the phone calls I made so people hear me when they call and not some nervous robot.
Because the phone banks I go to are between 6 and 8 p.m., there were many times when I called and got answering machines and people answered the phone to say they were sitting down to dinner and didn't want to be disturbed.
After a lot of patience and Arizona Green Tea, I started to get people who were, as I call them, "Barack all the way," especially on the week of July 20 when President Obama came to Fort Myers.
These people have been impressed with the work President Obama has done in the past four years, from creating four million jobs, bringing the Iraq war to an end, ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” creating the Affordable Care Act and bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice—among many other things.
The bigger challenge for me is knocking door-to-door, because you honestly don't know what people will say or even do. But that fear would apply for whoever I was endorsing, especially in swing state Florida. But like the phone banks, I think the process of going door-to-door will get easier the more I do it. I said to myself if I get through to at least two people, then I must be doing something right.
One positive sign came in a recent Saturday door-to-door canvass that lasted longer than I thought it would with a man named Bill who has Parkinson's disease. He told me why this election is important to me.
The most common response I get when I talk to people like Bill and others is that they are scared Mitt Romney's plan for healthcare will put their lives in jeopardy.
I feel more like an adult in this election than I did last time because I've decided to take more an active part in our electoral process than last by joining the campaign for the first time.
What I've learned about democracy from working on this campaign is that it's not enough to just vote on Election Day. Making a better society begins when we as citizens decide how this country will be run and not corporations or CEOs who like to fire people.