Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sacred Privilege

Twice this week I talked to voters as a volunteer for the Obama for America campaign. The first day I canvassed in a neighborhood I had never been to. A lot of people weren't at home because they were working to pay their rents. I left get-out-to-vote flyers. Many of the people were home, and about half who were home opened their doors. I reminded them how much their vote really matters and gave them information about when and where to vote. The other half ignored my knock, probably worried that I was a bill collector or an attorney's agent, or worse. Two sent their preschool-age children to the door. One of the neighbors I met on the street, the only person I spoke with who had already voted by mail, told me there'd been a drug bust a block over the week before.

I wonder how many of the people who live in that neighborhood are actually going to follow through and vote.

Yesterday I knocked on doors in a neighborhood where several acquaintances live. Lots of people were at work, but like the previous day, many of the residents were at home, too. Only one of the voters I spoke with had not voted for President Obama yet, though his wife had. He apparently wanted to wait until the high holy day itself to make his vote for the president official.

Yesterday's canvassing was much more pleasant, but Monday's was way more important. I thought of what our sons' middle school social studies teacher once said: working with students who don't have the tools and support for success was more rewarding for him as an educator.

I didn't say this to anyone I met the last two days, but I'll say it here: Voting is a sacred privilege, even if so many of the candidates go out of their way to cheapen it. It's still a great way to make your voice heard.

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