Sunday, October 29, 2006

Get Out the Vote

posted by PeterAtLarge

Not sure that I'd fully agree with my young colleague's use of the word "inspiring", Bush, in his entry yesterday (below). For myself, I'm hardly inspired by the model of loyalty above everything, including good judgment. The "heckuva job" syndrome has not served you or the nation well. (Prime example: your Rumsfeld, still in office!) No, I judge rather that the example of the past few years has served to show the limits and the potential downside of the quality of loyalty to party and pals. But I catch the tenor of what he says...

I myself spent the afternoon yesterday, you'll be delighted toi hear, making calls as a volunteer for the dreaded A great turnout--more than thirty people, I'd guess, armed with their cellphones and a lot of passion, in arch-conservative Orange County. Our mission impossible was to make cold calls to numbers in Virginia, where voters are faced with the choice between the incumbent, "Macaca" George Allen, and his Democratic challenger, Jim Webb. As you might imagine, Bush, our calls were intended to benefit the latter.

A couple of observations: aside from the majority of calls (maybe sixty percent) that were either unanswered or picked up by a voice mail service, my own were answered mostly with surprising courtesy. True, a couple of male answerers were briskly dismissive: none of your business who I vote for. But only one respondant actually hung up on me--and I dialed more than sixty numbers. Since the calls were made mid-afternoon in California, and therefore closer to dinner time back east, I was somewhat shamed by my own habit of cold-shouldering Democratic cold-callers when they reach me--all too often--at dinner time. As Ellie observed on the way home from our phone party, I'll try to be be more friendly in the future. Imagine myself on the calling end, maybe...

But what I brought away from the experience was a renewed sense of surprise and (well, nearly) despair at the lack of care and curiosity on the part of most of my callees about the state of their nation and the representation of their state in the Senate. Most--and I use that word advisedly--had no idea who the candidates were, let alone their position on the issues, or indeed what the major issues are. One respondant Ellie spoke to said she got her information from the television, thank you: I just hope that doesn't mean the commercials, but I suspect it does. One of mine said her husband would vote--for both of them, I presumed. Another of Ellie's was the same, except that he left the responsibility to his wife.

Of the callers I actually spoke to, perhaps twenty in all, only two or three had given any thought to the senate race in their state. One had voted already. For Jim Webb, I was happy to hear. But declined to say what he thought the important issues were, Another, you'll be pleased to hear, would not vote for the Democrat--and also declined to identify the crucial issues. I hope that others had better luck than I, but if my experience was typical, it does not speak well for the electorate of this country. And my fear is that ignorance works for your party, Bush, much more than it does for mine.

1 comment:

PK said...

Ahhh, apathy... ain't it great? I have that problem too, and that's just with a few of my friends and Ignorance must be bliss, as is said. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, 'my commander and chief will make my decisions for me!'. Oh, really... I've heard that through the years. I couldn't believe it, and it's still an amazement to me how people can't, don't, or won't think for themselves. Or, 'nah, I don't vote, hell it doesn't make any difference anyway, they're going to do what they want no mater who's in office.' Oh, really... Or, laughter and, 'do you think anyone cares what I think?' Oh, really... I'm quite sure you could add your a tad more to this. Congratulations on those you were able to get ahold of, hope you made a small dent in getting the vote out:). I already sent in my ballot. Someone tried to get rid of me:). I didn't get any political mail, couldn't figure out why. I'm not registered! Oh, really...!? Been registered since I was old enough to vote. So, I figured I'd go absentee from now on. That'll keep those at the polling places from messing with me! Have a great evening Peter... wow, I just noticed, it's pitch black out there and only 5:55pm.