I went out in the neighborhood to knock some doors for Obama on Saturday. A supremely weird experience. Voting is a personal decision… or at least that’s what I’ve always been taught. So I felt like I was violating some part of my upbringing. On the other hand, I think that sharing my beliefs and convictions with my neighbors and my community is important at well. So, in a bit of a conflict I set off to knock some doors.
And it was hard to ask the question… “Who are you voting for?” The campaign gives you a script, so I wasn’t simply launching into that question, but still, getting to that question was hard, with people you sort of know, but mostly don’t.
Let’s just say this, it’s easier to do it when you’re in some other neighborhood where you don’t know anyone.
I think the campaign thinks that perhaps its more powerful coming from a neighbor. Maybe that comes from the fact that it’s a lot tougher to take a chance on a relationship that has basically been formed at a few block parties and passing conversations while walking the dog down the street.
Standing at Starbucks the next day, I was reminded again of this when I overheard conversation between two older gentlemen while waiting for my pumpkin spice latte.
The first gentleman was explaining to the second that he couldn’t believe the gall of the Obama supporters who were at his door trying to find out who he was voting for, and trying to stick a sign in his yard.
Perhaps emboldened by the caffeine, I took a seat next to them and introduced myself as somone who was out yesterday doing that exact same thing (although not forcing my opinions or signs on anyone).
And I tried to explain why I felt compelled to go out and do that, even though I knew that voting was a personal decision. Gentleman #2 clearly got it, and said a few words about going out and telling people what you believe.
Gentleman #1 started into a rant about Obama and how he doesn’t really have him figured out yet. Gentleman #2 says “What do you need to figure out at this point? He’s better for the country than McCain!”
With that, I took my pumpkin spiced lattes and headed out the door.