Please share your stories of offline political activism here.
I had another busy canvassing weekend, knocking on over 100 doors on Saturday and Sunday. Both were hot, sunny days, excellent for being at the beach or a park, and a lot of people weren’t home. All of the Democrats and independents I spoke with said they will vote this year, and almost all said they’ll vote a straight Democratic ticket. Several were voters-by-mail and had already received and returned their ballots. Several more had already voted – our early voting began last Monday – or plan to vote this week. The rest said they’ll vote on election day.
A Hispanic man offered to “call, drive, anything you need” on November 2nd. “My English is good, but if I call people who speak Spanish, it is easier for me.” I said we have many Spanish-speaking voters he could call. He smiled and said, “We must stand up and vote this year. Very important.”
Two independents I spoke with were libertarians and said they would vote for the TGOP. The other independents I met were all voting for Democrats. And, maybe, so are at least two Republicans.
They weren’t on my list – it’s screened for Democrats and independents – but I’m walking my own precinct and was finished for the day. They’re a couple who live a few doors down and were in their garage as I was walking by. He had a McCain yard sign in 2008 which he kept up until February 2009. I decided to stop and chat anyway.
“I hate the banks,” he said, to start the conversation. “Especially Bank of America. We just closed all our accounts there. They changed the rules and started charging us fees. I could never vote for Alex Sink. She worked for Bank of America.”
Alex Sink is our Democratic candidate for governor. Yes, she worked for BoA, very briefly. She was president of a Florida bank that BoA bought. After the buyout, BoA paid her a going away bonus. She left BoA long before the 2008 collapse, but TGOP candidate Rick Scott’s ads have made it seem as if she masterminded the meltdown. In contrast, Scott was CEO of Columbia Health Care while the company was perpetrating the largest Medicare fraud in history, for which it was convicted and fined $1.4 billion.
“I didn’t know she left Bank of America before that happened,” he said. “The problem with you Democrats is, you won’t come out and call people who lie about you … liars. You’re polite and reasonable. I appreciate that. But you have to call out liars. I only know what Republicans say about you. I don’t even know what Democrats stand for.”
“We stand for three things,” I said. “People matter more than profits. The earth is our home, not our trash can. And we need good government to make those happen.”
His wife spoke up. “But that means bigger government. I don’t trust government.”
“The alternative is letting corporations do everything,” I replied. “Thing is, most of our problems are too big for individuals to solve themselves. We have to work together somehow. We can work together through government, or let corporations do it. And I trust government more than I trust corporations.”
“Well that’s true,” she said. “He still has health insurance, but I’m retired and I have Medicare. The week after I signed up, I fell and broke my arm. I needed surgery. They took care of it. It was easy. We’re not sure his insurance would do that.”
He and I swapped health insurance horror stories, including my partner’s horror story involving the same insurance company he has now. He looked worried. “So if I get sick, my insurance might be worthless?” I nodded. He paused, then said, “How will Obama’s health care plan help? Will it stop them from cheating people like they cheated you?”
“It has rules to do exactly that,” I said. “Some have already kicked in. The rest will be phased in by 2014. You’ll be able to buy from the same pool of health insurance plans that federal employees have. You won’t be on your own.”
“That sounds better than the mess we have,” he said. “So people over profits. What was the next one? I should learn this. I may be a Democrat after all.”