Thursday, October 09, 2008

James Forman with a story on the on-the-ground effort

More from James Forman:
In light of our reg efforts, the Repub last hope is that these new voters won't turn out.  In an ordinary year, they would be right.  And if we don't do our jobs, they will be right.  But Team Obama has a plan to remake the rules about voter turnout.  And the plan involves us.  It takes phone calls and door knocks on a massive scale.  We are needed on the ground to execute.

To see what a difference it makes, and how rewarding it can be, read this account by Allison, a Georgetown law student who volunteered this past weekend in Alexandria, Fairfax County, VA.
Initially, I wasn't sure if she wanted to volunteer, or if something had just been lost in translation.  I was knocking doors in Fairfax, Virginia and found myself on the stoop of Mrs. Diaz's home, where she lives with her three children, their spouses, and multiple grandchildren. Her English was very limited, but Mrs. Diaz's wrinkled face lit up when I mentioned "Barack Obama."

"Yes! I've been telling my friends at work about him!" she said, smiling widely. I asked if she'd like to volunteer for the campaign by making phone calls to Spanish-speaking voters. She nodded enthusiastically. At this point, her middle-aged daughter rushed over to the front door, panicked. "I'm sorry, but she doesn't understand you," and they began to communicate in Spanish.

As it turns out, Ms. Diaz understood me just fine. They argued a bit and finally her daughter turned to me and said, "My mother is old and works six days a week. But she says she wants to volunteer on her day off."  She shrugged and shook her head. The look in her eyes told me that this wasn't the first time that her elderly mother had refused to let age or work stand in the way of something she believed in.

Mrs. Diaz was only one of many remarkable people we met yesterday. There's also Max, the 65 year old man who has never voted in his life, but is coming to the polls this year for the first time. There's Mr. and Mrs. Vega, who immigrated to this country 27 years ago and only became full citizens in June in order to vote in this most important election. And there was Tom, who is worried about filling about his car with gas and about how his two boys are going to keep their small business up and running. I talked with Tom for awhile, but in the end could not convince him that Obama is the guy to lead. "I'm still undecided," he told me as I left his doorstep. I remain really disappointed that I couldn't change Tom's mind. Oh well – maybe his neighbor, Mrs. Diaz, will.
Join Allison and Mrs. Diaz and the rest of us this upcoming weekend.  Sign up here if you are in the DC area:  You will get confirmation from the Hoya Law team by Thursday evening.


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