There’s a piece in the November 3 issue of The Christian Science Monitor called, “My wife made me canvass for Obama; here’s what I learned.” It’s the story of Jonathan Curley, a Southern banker who voted for George H.W. Bush twice and W. once. He has a son who has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He knows that his taxes will probably go up no matter who is elected. He is a self-described “dreaded swing voter.” And in this election, he is voting for, and canvassing for, Obama.
His first canvassing trip was suggested by his wife. He went along, the dutiful husband. This “middle-aged white couple” was assigned to canvass a housing project: a predominantly black neighborhood.
We knocked on doors and voices from behind carefully locked doors shouted, “Who is it?”
“We’re from the Obama campaign,” we’d answer. And just like that doors opened and folks with wide smiles came out on the porch to talk.
Grandmothers kept one hand on their grandchildren and made sure they had all the information they needed for their son or daughter to vote for the first time.
Young people came to the door rubbing sleep from their eyes to find out where they could vote early, to make sure their vote got counted.
We knocked on every door we could find and checked off every name on our list. We did our job, but Obama may not have been the one who got the most out of the day’s work.
I learned in just those three hours that this election is not about what we think of as the “big things.”
It’s not about taxes. I’m pretty sure mine are going to go up no matter who is elected.
It’s not about foreign policy. I think we’ll figure out a way to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan no matter which party controls the White House, mostly because the people who live there don’t want us there anymore.
I don’t see either of the candidates as having all the answers.
I’ve learned that this election is about the heart of America. It’s about the young people who are losing hope and the old people who have been forgotten. It’s about those who have worked all their lives and never fully realized the promise of America, but see that promise for their grandchildren in Barack Obama. The poor see a chance, when they often have few. I saw hope in the eyes and faces in those doorways.
Mr. Curley says that he was going canvassing again, but this time not because it was his wife’s idea. We only really have today to do this, folks, and tomorrow to actually get people to the polls. But it’s not too late. You can do this. You can get out in neighborhoods and make sure that folks know where to vote. You can make phone calls. This isn’t over. We have time to make a difference.