Tag Archives: Democrats

Peregrinations around my precinct

Peregrination: n. to travel, especially on foot

Precinct: n. political district

So many good Democratic candidates running for office, so much competition from shitty ones, and so little time to sway an ignorant or indifferent public.

Although you can talk with more voters in a given amount of time by phone, and it’s considerably cozier to reach out from a phone room than from a hard stretch of pavement in the rain, the most effective get-out-the-vote (GOTV) strategy involves going door to door, meeting people face to face.

The advantages are many:

  • you get to see how people are really living
  • they get to meet you in person and see that you’re also a human being – perhaps even a person who cares about their issues
  • it’s hard to demonize someone you’re talking to on your doorstep
  • you can answer questions and hand them useful literature
  • occasionally you can even change someone’s mind or convince them that it’s worth the effort to vote.

I’ve walked the streets several times using a list of registered voters and visiting only a few houses on a block where we knew that independent or undecided voters lived, leaving the rest of the homes alone. Since we don’t register by party in Washington, at every election we have to identify those folks who are likely to vote Democratic so we can make sure they vote.

I don’t like this targeted walking because it’s a lot of walking and not a lot of contact.  Many people don’t like that you have a list and know their names.

Yesterday I walked for a first-time candidate for Washington State Senate, David Carrier. His goal is slightly different: to make sure folks know that he exists; get some written information about himself out there and maybe even answer questions.  Instead of a list we used a Google map of a few blocks of the neighborhood, and we knocked on every door. I went up one side of the street and another volunteer worked across the street. Whether or not someone answered, we left literature. If they answered, we gave them 30-second pitch and assessed their response to David and the Democratic ticket.

Then we filled in a sheet with the street address, gender and approximate age of the person we spoke to, plus our assessment of their voting inclinations.  Back at the office when we make GOTV calls, we’ll use the address (and our voter database) to call those who said they were leaning Democratic.  No house left behind.

We got to talk with many more people, and who knows, we might even have charmed a few Republicans and opened their minds a crack.

In fact, my pen ran out of ink at the home of an older man who had just told me he would never vote Democratic.  He seemed like a nice guy, though, so I just decided what the hell, and asked him if a kind Republican such as himself could bring himself to find a pencil to “lend” me so I could finish my work.

“Come on in,” he said, and began rummaging around on a nearby desk.

“Here,” he said, handing me a fresh ball-point pen, “have a nice rest of the day.”

“Proud Pentecostal for Obama”

Pentecostalism is a fundamentalist religious movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as shown in the Biblical account of the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Pentecostalism is an umbrella term including a wide range of different theological and organizational perspectives. As a result, there is no central organization or church which directs the movement.

Assemblies of God is the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination, with over 283,413 churches and outstations in over 200 countries (including 12,311 churches in the U.S.) and approximately 57 million adherents worldwide… they claim to be adding 5,000 adherents a day. Sarah Palin belongs to an Assemblies of God congregation.

Pentecostalism is about polar opposite to Unitarian Universalism, my denomination.  The folks John McCain was hoping to win over with the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate are evangelicals like her. UUs like me are beyond appalled.  But there are 200,000 of us, and many many millions of them. Would they fall for her, hook line and stinker lies?

At least two of them say NO!  (Consider this my Sunday inspirational post)…

The first was an evangelical Christian who calls himself ex VRWC. He wrote a post on DailyKos,  We Are Out Here:

We are out here – the Republicans or ex-Republicans who will no longer tolerate the racist, despicable slime machine that the right wing and the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign has become. I know, for I am one of them. I am not your typical progressive, being an ex- Air Force officer (9 years), evangelical Christian, card carrying conservative, Rush/Hannity listener – an now an Obama supporter in John McCain’s home state of Arizona. [follow the link to read the whole thing, it’s terrific.]

And then a gal named angeleyes responded with this:

I’m a proud Pentecostal, tongue-talkin’, creationist, pro-life Evangelical Democrat

Yes, you read the title of my diary correct. I am in fact all of those things (however, in regards to “creationism” I’m not a “young earther”).  I believe in the bible literally. To some of you, I might as well be committed for being as crazy as a loon, but trust me – I’m really quite sane.  Sane and enthusiastically voting for Barack Obama this fall!  And here’s the kicker: I’m voting for Barack BECAUSE of my Faith!

So how did I get here?   …

Quite simply, a lot of us thought that God, through George Bush, was going to restore a sense of morality to this County.  We believed he would be moral and compassionate. I know, I know, but that’s what we honestly believed. Plus, it wasn’t the first time I fell for a man that I just wanted to have a beer with!

But during 2004 something happened, and I won’t ever forget it.  As I was piddling through the house during the ’04 Democratic convention, I heard this man begin to speak from the podium.  It was Barack Obama.  I literally ran from kitchen into the living room to see this man.  I can remember feeling like a fresh breeze had just blow throughout the country.  In the fall of ’04, I still pulled the lever for George Bush, but this time I did it with much trepidation.

Slowly but surely, my eyes began to open and I began to take a broad view of the world around me. The war had began to descend into a incredible debacle, the economy began to slide, and I noticed a bitter divisiveness in this country that repulsed me.  And I asked myself this question: Is this what God had in mind?

You see, in the book of Matthew in the bible, Jesus said that a tree is judged by its fruit.  I don’t have the right to judge another human being, but I CAN judge the fruit of their actions. All I saw from the works of the Republican Party was orchards and orchards of trees with rotten fruit. I then realized that as much as I seemingly had “in common” with Republican Right-Wing Christians, I wasn’t really one of them.  We may believe the same things, but we’re coming from a different place.  I believe in the things I believe in  because I have a relationship with God, not with a party.

The Republican Party is NOT God’s Party, period! I’ve spent more than a few years now studying the life of Jesus Christ – his ways, his conduct.  He uplifted those around him, he didn’t condemn them.  He gave them hope, not despair.  He spoke to the better parts of their character, not tore them apart for their completely human flaws.  When God said He was love, he meant it.

…  True leaders see each person, especially those that they lead, as precious, treasured sons and daughters of the same God that loves them.  And never has this fact been more obviously and clearly displayed to me than when I compared and contrasted the Democratic and the Republican Conventions.  You see, I get Sarah Palin’s Christian background.  I’m of the SAME background, so I don’t have a problem with that.  I DO have a problem with how “careless” she and other right-wingers are with their words. I watched the speakers at the Republican Convention go on an out-and-out vitriolic tirade.  I was embarrassed and ashamed that people would hear these folks and associate them with me and my Faith.  When Sarah Palin was speaking, I just became so sad.  What an awesome opportunity she had! To ascend to a national stage and make God proud. But look at the fruit: anger, bitterness, strife, division.  The fruit of their tree is just plain rotten.

To make it clear, I don’t see Barack Obama as a “Messiah”.  No man will ever hold that place in my eyes again.  But to me, Barack’s leadership inspires hope and speaks of a better future.  The fruit of his tree is good.  Just look around.  Across this nation, and in fact this world, he inspires a sense of joy about our future.  I believe Christ, who to me was the ultimate leader, did the same.

So as an Evangelical Christian, conventional wisdom these days says I’m fired up and energized. That’s right. I am! The viciousness, the condescension, the “elitism” from Republicans; it certainly lit a fire under this Evangelical Christian, but not the kind the Republicans were looking for!  I’m fired up to say loud and clear that they don’t speak for me, my family, none of my friends, acquaintances, or my church family!  And I will not sit idly by while the name and character of the God I love so dearly is hitched to a bunch of folks who can’t even follow these simple words spoken by Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12.

I’m voting for Barack Obama in the fall.  And I’ll be praising God all the way!

Political Process

This morning I joined 1500 other Clark County Democrats at the County convention as an alternate for Obama. (This not me in the photo…) Although I’m a precinct officer, I missed out on being an official delegate because I was too busy running the caucus in February to volunteer. Today all my precinct delegates must have showed up, so no alternates were needed.

It was an exuberant crowd and there are some fine candidates running for state and local offices. We heard from them, then went into an interminable certification process – I left since I had no further role, but I got reports from friends that it didn’t break up till ours later than it was supposed to.

Democracy is cumbersome and untidy. Our caucus process is under attack by some who think it’s way too unwieldy. But after watching how it works to bring people out and energize them, I don’t want to go to a primary only. The trouble is, primary voters are much less committed to the party’s principles (all they have to do is mark some Xs on a ballot and drop it in the mail).

In the Feb. caucuses the county went 2 to 1 for Obama – with the most enormous turnout ever! Folks who come out for a caucus are hard-core, and tend to be more liberal. They get energized by being with other like-minded folks and become the foundation of the worker-bee army that is required in an election year.

I saw that again today, although I don’t know how folks felt if the convention wasn’t done till 4.