Doing Something

Last Sunday, I knocked on the doors of complete strangers. I left the warmth of my wood stove because I’d committed to volunteering a few hours to getting the vote out. I headed out to the Democratic Headquarters where the young and eager staff downloaded an app on my phone that gave me a street-by-street map of the neighborhood I’d be canvassing. Addresses included names, ages and voter affiliation of residents – with each house on my app with at least one Democrat resident.

At 3:00 PM it was cold and windy in the unfamiliar neighborhood assigned to me in my city of roughly 88,000 residents. The streets were empty and at house after house almost no one opened the door. I get it. I hate when people ring my bell. It’s never a good time. My mind, my beliefs, have never been changed by a stranger on my doorstep. So what was I thinking? Honestly, I acted on the impulse that I had to do SOMETHING.

Being the good girl that I am, I did my best to complete my assignment of visiting about 40 houses. A few doors did open and politely accepted my literature for the local Democratic candidates. One man was even enthusiastic. But finally, when one of the rare white guys on my list with an Irish name and a hipster beard to boot, opened his door just long enough to bark “NO!” at me before slamming it, I packed it in. Knocking on doors is not for me.

However, I did take the day off so I can drive people to the polls on election day.

I did this in 2016 and delivered 7 votes for Hilary. Unlike door-knocking, it was very rewarding. The voters were fellow city residents, all 70 and older, all but one, African American. Almost all of them had moved up from the South in the 1950s – part of the Great Migration. I loved hearing their stories.

A man without any teeth, reeking of alcohol but wearing a crisp, white shirt was beaming after casting his vote. He told me it was the first time he’d ever voted. I couldn’t help asking how he missed voting for Obama? But I could guess. His wife had trouble walking and remained in the car (FYI: ballot will be brought to the car by an election official if you can’t make it inside) and we’d been commiserating about loving someone with addiction. And anyway, he’d voted this time. I wonder will he bother again?

Another woman reached into her pocket when we got back to her place and I was afraid she was going to try and pay me but instead, she handed me a mint wrapped in plastic. I kept it on my dresser for months – a sweet reminder of the inspiring part of that day and that despite the outcome, we’d done our part.

I won’t knock on doors but after these past two years, after this awful week — eleven Jewish elders including Holocaust survivors, gunned down with an assault rifle while they gathered in their synagogue, two African Americans – both beloved grandparents, out shopping, murdered by a racist in Kentucky, assassination attempts made on leaders and journalists — I must do something. This is a fight for our lives. Let me know if you need a lift to the polls.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Doing Something

  1. Tricia, I so understand your experience about canvassing. I do it every election and it is always somewhat daunting. My only advice would be to do it with someone else, somehow it makes the rejections easier to take. Anyhow, you seem to have found a different way to help. Every bit counts (at least I hope so). XX France

  2. Tricia says:

    How funny — I think I was commenting on your incredible post while you were on mine. Thanks for the encouragement. Or maybe I should just plan on moving back to Kyoto! Thanks for beautifully reminding me of the rest of the world.xxx

  3. Thank you for canvassing and for taking people to the polls. This is the best way to create political change (and mitigate heartbreak of the hateful actions we are seeing.)

  4. In the wake of such a terrible week, your words are an inspiration and a reminder that our salvation lies only in connection, in knowing our neighbors.

  5. We all need a little reminder. It is survival for some of us

  6. Anne Hughes says:

    Come knock on doors with us, Tricia, or drive us next weekend…. we have fun, our neighbors welcome us, and Mary’s making soup! Bring Molly!

  7. Tricia says:

    I know – you look like you’re having a ball and I’m rooting for you! I need to work in these little corners of my city though I’m sending all the votes I can in your direction! ❤️

  8. cynthia says:

    Thank you, Tricia! All our small acts go toward change. This is a fight for our lives and for the future.

  9. Rita Sklar says:

    Good for you, Tricia! Nice story, too.

  10. leasyl says:

    Hi Tricia. I’ve been doing the same thing in Trumbull and coming to the same conclusion. Too many doors that don’t open OR preaching to the choir. How is this helping? Yet just like you I feel wild-eyed and desperate with hope and anxiety over the mid-terms and had to do something. Your interaction with the voters you drove brought the light of a kind person into their lives. I’m hoping that all of these small efforts are radiating a force we might not be able to discern, but that will guide the country back to sanity, honor, compassion, and foresight. XXOO

  11. Hi there,

    Came across your blog by way of another one I follow and I am glad I did.

    Yes, this is “the fight of our lives” ~ the shootings…. movie theaters, schools, universities, yoga studio, synagogue, disco, bar… it doesn’t stop and the scariest part is that it will no doubt get worse before it gets better. With the rhetoric that comes down from the top and creates an atmosphere of hate and anger towards differences… the very thing that America is founded on.. we are in a bad way.

    We can only pray that the 100 women who got elected (well done!!!) will have impact upon gun control. But it will be a long hard battle.

    Thank you for your efforts. It does make a difference.

    I am a US citizen, although I was born in South Africa and currently live in Sri Lanka. I still visit my family there twice a year and pay very close attention to the news and politics.

    Peta

  12. Tricia says:

    Thank you for this! It’s heartening to hear from you. Yes – there seems to be some light in this dark tunnel!

Leave a Reply