Why We Canvass
The General Election that closes this November 6 will not be a cakewalk. There will be no landslide. Every vote will count. The stakes are high.
Monday evening my canvassing partner and I were out knocking on doors for Lisa Brown on the north side as part of the wholly volunteer effort put together by one of the Indivisible groups (the one whose canvasses are often advertised in the text box above this message). I had just left a flyer at a door. We were standing on the sidewalk in front of the same home checking our papers when a woman in her forties and her twenty-something daughter turned their car into the driveway, parked, and got out. We smiled and waved, sporting our stickers, name-tags, and clipboards. Seizing the opportunity, my partner asked, "May we have a few minutes of your time?" The woman smiled back but waved us off, indicating she was in a hurry to get inside. We smiled back and slowly walked on.
We were one house away when the same woman, with her daughter in tow, came across her lawn, hailing us, "If you have a minute, I do have a question..."
We stopped and smiled, "Sure, what is it?
"Is Lisa against registering sex offenders?" she asked. "We heard she is and if that's true we can't vote for her. You know, fifty percent of woman are abused some time in their lives..."
We quietly assured her that was misinformation, actually a lie, probably fostered by the nasty attack ad McMorris Rodgers had sponsored about a month ago. I recounted the letter signed by hundreds of health professional professionals published in the Spokesman denouncing that ad and calling on McMorris Rodgers to retract it.
"I'm really glad to hear that," she said. "We don't like what McMorris Rodgers is doing, but we just couldn't vote for someone who was against registering sex offenders."
We didn't think to ask, but I'm willing to bet these two women did not vote in the Primary. I'm pretty sure they will vote for Lisa in November, all because we had a pleasant face-to-face conversation with them on the sidewalk. The same evening we had meaningful conversations with people who had just moved to town and didn't know exactly how to change their voting address, people whom we helped register to vote, and people who started out saying they mostly "don't follow politics" who sounded moderately inspired to vote after our conversation.
I have written letters and talked with friends, but I have never knocked on doors for any candidate or any initiative before November 2016. Although by now I have gone out many times I still have to push myself to get started...and every time it is a rewarding experience, in part because of the contacts themselves and in part because of social interaction with and the enthusiasm of the other canvassers.
The General Election this fall could be the most consequential election of my lifetime. The future of our democracy hangs in a balance to be swayed by all the little actions of all the people of good will knocking on doors and talking with other people all over the country in the next fifty-six days.
It is time to come out and make good on that check mark you made months ago that indicated your willingness to volunteer. All it requires is your time, a little gumption, your smile, and your sincerity...and it's fun, interesting, and educational.
This Saturday, September 15th come on down to Riverside Place, 1110 W Riverside Ave,, (the old Masonic Temple) at 11:30 to 12 for pizza, 12-1:15 Campaign Update, Motivation and Persuasion Training, meet Lisa, and then go out door knocking with a partner! The time is now. You can do this!
Keep to the high ground,