A Trip Outside Our Bubble.

I am a little pent-up. Okay, pent-up is a not quite it. I’m a wreck. I go to sleep thinking about votes flipping in West Virginia, I wake up worrying about vote caging in Ohio. During the day I seethe over early voting suppression tactics in the early-voting states. I walk around fuming about robocalls that say Obama has “close ties” to “terrorists” and the anti-Obama “He’s Not Who You Think He Is” mailers that McCain apparently thinks are so great. And I toss and turn fretting over the people who believe the calls and the sleazy e-mails and the Rovian whisper campaigns, and the paperless voting machines. And that thing has returned, that knot that feels like a small boulder in my upper back. So I was looking forward to my trip.

 

My sixteen-year-old son and I, along with a friend and her son, drove to Nevada this past weekend in hopes of helping out the Obama campaign. Yes, I opted for the four-hour drive to Las Vegas over phone-banking from the privacy of my living room. I hate phone-banking. I know it’s supposed to work, but I just can’t do it. I’ve done it before and it makes me want to crawl in a hole. I mean, I hate getting political phone calls, they make me feel surly, so why should I be the source of someone else’s annoyance? So we made what ended up being a six hour drive (rush hour), arriving at our destination late Friday night.

 

We reported Saturday morning to the field office, got our marching orders and instructions, and headed to the car, clutching three packets containing pamphlets, a list of names, and a neighborhood map. Heavily armed with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Or at least some of us were. In case I forgot we were traveling with teenagers.

 

“Honey, do you need any sunscreen?”
“I put some on earlier.”
“Did you put on enough?”
“I’m good, Mom.”
“Do you have a hat?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
“Edison, you need a hat. It’s really hot.”
“Nah, I’m good.”
“Sweetie, then at least put on my sunglasses. It’s really bright.”
“Nah, I’m good.”

 

We started off all energized and hopped-up. Expecting to come head to head with fence-sitters and people eager to hear about how they can vote early, which was our main directive. Only to meet dead-end after dead-end. Large, run-down apartment complexes displaying large “No Tresspassing” signs, with their own lipsticked pitbulls guarding the front desks. We knew the Obama supporters were in there, according to our list. All we needed to do was to let them know about early voting, and encourage them to avail themselves of the opportunity. But apparently many of them work all night and sleep during the day, and we couldn’t get past the suspicious gatekeepers.

 

At one building, three women in shorts and tank tops sat out on the front stoop, smoking. Apparently everyone smokes in Las Vegas. I asked them, “Any of you registered to vote?” and received a proud, “Nope!” in response. And some sneering and chuckling when we said we were with the Obama Campaign.

 

Mellor
11.19.08

Excuse me, but may I take issue with the preposterous idea that the Republicans have provided us with “Homeland Security?” Are you referring to the stellar way they handled the Katrina debacle, or the fact that only 5% of incoming shipping containers are given security checks. Still. Seven years after 911. If someone “toothless and ragged” wandered into my yard, I would not be suddenly thanking the Republicans, as there have been more “toothless and ragged” on the streets since the Reagan administration started cutting funding for mentally ill and homeless citizens. Way to go with the empathy and compassion, Republican ladies! Obama is less of a “socialist” than Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. Let’s hope he can clean up the mess the Bush administration has wrought, including the attempt to dismantle many of the great programs instituted by Franklin Roosevelt. If you don’t believe in “Government,” then you should not be running the country. And yes, I am the author of the "Three Martini Complaint Department" column. I enjoy reading all the comments, but this time I felt compelled to respond. (Boy, did that feel good.)

mpolhemus
11.04.08

Thank you for taking the time to share the hope of Barack Obama's campaign. Perhaps if some of these people had realized a good education and proper healthcare their existance would be less hopeless.

Evangelina
10.30.08

I agree with you wholeheartedly sassygirlzmo.

sassygirlzmom
10.30.08

Did you hand out dollar bills to the people in the "transitional housing complex" so they'd vote for your candidate, too?
Your last paragraph is the most telling, you really reflect on the luxuries you have now. With a socialist on the ballot, who you are voting for, prepare to give those luxuries to others. It is important to "spread the wealth!" You should have invited those people from the transitional housing complex to hang out in your backyard with trees for a few days - you'll owe it to them under an Obama administration.
In reality if someone toothless and ragged walked into your neighborhood or yard you would call 911 and be thankful a Republican administration provided you Homeland security.