Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Everyone's the same but different.

I just finished a calling drive on behalf of Move On PAC at La Palapa restaurant here in NYC. The turnout was impressive, with no less than 100 people taking turns making phone calls to residents in Florida, encouraging them to vote. What was most interesting about the people who came to the volunteer effort was their economic standing and their attitude towards the process of encouraging others to vote (and in this case for Kerry). First, all of the volunteers were caucasian, and either students or white collar employees (the rest were retired or artists/musicians). There were no minorities (aside from me) in sight. Having spent over 3 hours at the restaurant, I became acutely aware of the situation after about hour 2. Now the reasons are numerous for this divide, and a living wage is one place to start, but the realization that New York City, the land of the melting pot, could not spur a sense of comraderie during this election was disheartening - coming from a teacher who teaches in one of the worst urban public schools in the city.
Secondly, I met or interacted with some of the strangest volunteers while participating in the effort. Most notably was a fourteen year old boy who sat next to his mother (an older woman who yelled at those on the other line as if she were in the subway). The boy would call a perspective voter and berate them about Bush's policies. Having been hung up on once, he would call again and proclaim, "How dare you hang up on me." not to be outdone after being hung up on a second time, he would call a third time and hang up as the receiver picked up the phone. Now I am all for encouraging children to become involved in the process of politics, and I would certainly allow a child to attempt to make two phone calls and "fail." But when does the parent step in and explain to the child the proper procedure in which to make these phone calls. Like mother like son I guess.

On a brighter note, of those who came the mood was cautious but optimistic and it was nice to interact with others during the election of my lifetime.


At 8:28 PM, Blogger Jillian said...

Yeah, I met Barak Obama. (I'm from his state, Illinois) Whoo hoo! :-) I voted for him as well. ;-)

I think you will find my little piece on the election quite entertaining, whether you are for Bush or not.

See you around!

Boredom on a Stick


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