Sunday, 2 November 2008

Campaign Obama. 2.11.08

Its 1.30am (thank you daylight saving) and I just got back to my lodging after another long day. Pretty shattered but the adrenaline and apprehension that comes from working on this campaign is kicking in and keeping us all going. I have not had much sleep this past week, and cannot believe I’ve been here already for 11 days… it feels more like 5.
I cracked dead pan Sam, we are mates and having a lot of fun together… he is not the serious moody person I took him for at ALL.. it just took my introducing him to Hot Chip’s “Ready on the floor,” and we bonded, and have since been playing the song through speakers on campus and boogying away with big Obama signs on our heads as bemused students pass us by. I actually don’t think I’ve ever made quite such a fool of myself as I have in this fight for Obama… ANYTHING to get them to listen! I got on a shuttle bus that drives around campus the other day and just plonked myself down next one student after another… chatting away… did you know Obama this, Obama that… please vote for me as I can’t… and then there’s my face recognition problem which means that I have now talked to so many of them that I have no idea if I’ve already engaged with them already or not… starting to get a few rolling eyes.. “yes… you asked me yesterday…” aaaagh! But Sam won’t let me stop… ever… bug, bug, bug, bug… that is how we will get them to the polling station… it doesn’t matter how annoying we are… it’s the only way of assuring they will go. After this experience, I promise this: I will never ignore a big issue seller again, or for that matter, one of those charity people who stand on the street outside WH Smith in Notting Hill Gate and come up to you with a huge smile and ask they can speak to you for 2 seconds… THAT is what I’ve been doing! It is demoralizing at times but I know that in the grand scheme of things, mine and Sam’s work on campus is making a pretty huge impact. More than double the number of students to the last election have registered, and our goal is that every one of them votes… and I think its going to work.

I am not writing well as I am very tired so please forgive if I repeat myself like I did in the last blog a couple of times… I am dribble writing…

So every day last week I was on campus from 10 till 4pm, and then in the office from 4 till midnight earliest preparing for GOTV (Get out the vote) first day of which was today. Thursday the door signs for each and every Obama supporter in our 10 sq mile vicinity arrived with addresses of their polling station on them. There are about 15 different polling stations, and each voter whom our amazingly sophisticated data system indicates wants to vote for Obama, must get one hung from their door so they know exactly which one to go to on Election day. The problem was that there was a hiccup and we got sent incorrectly addressed signs (about 5000 of them) and therefore had to spend about 5 hours sticking correctly addressed labels onto each and every sign. Sam, Catherine, Jeremy (best boss in the world), and I were sticking labels until 3:30 in the morning. We all bonded over label sticking, Hot Chip and Dire Straits… such a mind numbing job that we could all for once actually converse at the same time as getting Barack to the White House… everything happens for a reason.. Personally I have felt much more relaxed in the office since. Catherine did a ‘what would you rather’ on Jeremy: every day for the rest of your life stick labels, or have Obama lose the election. Absolutely seriously he answered that he would stick labels every day for the rest of his life.

I feel very much part of the team now, maintaining deference for them all of course (they have all been on this campaign for much longer than I have, and they all have degrees in politics) but now I know more of the ropes and not having to ask every 2 seconds how/ what/ where/ when... I’m even ‘training’ other out of state volunteers as they come in to start their day’s canvassing!

To think I was even considering 10 days ago that I might scadadle out of here to drive to NYC for Halloween last night… there’s just no way I could have!… would have lost any respect any of them had for me… and at 2am last night would have missed our crucial GOTV preparatory meeting… no no.. I am absolutely committed to the cause!

Barack spoke to us on the phone this evening – it was amazing. He made a conference call to all 20,000 teams across the country that are doing what we’re doing. He told us he was proud of us. Soooo cool…! Every time Sam or I feel tired and in need of a boost, we YouTube one of his speeches, and all’s good. One such is watch it and you’ll get it… only takes a couple of minutes.
Yup - love has become a mild obsession… his stickers are all over my lap top and his posters on my bedroom wall. He rocks my world.

I haven’t had more than a 10 minute conversation with Charlotte since I got here…. She has been working even harder than me… its pretty intense.. hope she’s ok she’s gone back to the other town..

There’s a racist who keeps parking his truck outside our office – it has loads of signs on it like “Obama bin Laden,” “Say no to Radical Muslims,” “Why should I press one to speak English?” … what a jerk. We don’t confront him… must’t lower to his level. I got called a baby killer by misinformed student yesterday, and someone walked passed me having a ciggie outside the office today and asked if I supported Obama – I said yes, and he said he felt sorry for me… I asked why… he said “coz he’s a fuckin liar! He says he’s not against guns and he is..” or something like that.. I kept my cool… he was drunk.. not worth trying to explain the details of Obama’s actual plans which won’t ‘take away’ their guns at all, just make obtaining them a little harder.

On the whole though things are positive… there’s an air of something big and exciting happening in this country.

touching lots of wood… polls seeming almost too good to be true…

Oh... Derek, Lyle, and Lauren SD came from NY today to canvass with me. Was such a treat to see them and their little dachsund Monster... and made the whole process much more fun... Derek converted a McCain supporter into an Obama one, Lauren got given two delicious apples by an appreciative Obama supporter, and someone ensured that Lyle is a christian through and through and knows that Jesus will save him. They were the trendiest looking people Bloomsburg has seen walking its streets in a while I think.

again.. sorry for abrupt ending but knackered..

oh.. sorry no pictures yet but my hard drive has run out of space and I don’t know how to do it…

xx Jax

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