Sunday, October 24, 2004

Emily and I spent Saturday in Sayre, Pennnsylvania, stumping for Kerry. This is my nightmare: going from door to door talking to strangers who might be indifferent or hostile. But there were a number of mitigating factors. It was a flawless fall day and Sayre, at least its southern part (a "boro" called Athens) is positively idyllic, with beautiful colors on the leaves. Emily is very outgoing and effectively countered my shyness, making the first contact with these folks. And we were only polling registered Democrats, trying to determine who they were going to support on Nov. 2. Pretty much everyone we talked to was very nice and the majority were for Kerry. There was one woman who said she was voting for Bush and wouldn't say why; an older woman who refused to reveal who she would vote for; and a woman in her mid-forties who said she was undecided, but added that her Catholic faith was very important to her and that she was against abortion. I think if someone's strongly anti-abortion and they're still undecided that that's a good sign for Kerry. It was fascinating to meet a couple of the undecided voters who Emily and I had felt were mythical beings; but there were a couple, including a woman who appeared to be a single mother rushing off to some kind of healthcare job; she said she was afraid that electing Kerry "would send the wrong message to other countries." I guess she meant that we would be seen as weak by Arab states? Of course the basic orientation to see other nations as the big threat to us is a very regressive, Cold War way of thinking. As far as the so-called war on terror goes, Kerry is the candidate who understands that non-state actors are the real threat to us (though North Korea and Iran are serious causes for concern that the Bush administration has, of course, more or less ignored). Anyway, the whole thing was exhausting for this bascially shy person, but I felt good knowing that I had done something. If Bush wins it won't be my fault. But I think Kerry's going to win, I sincerely do. And I'm excited about the possibilities for real progress at home and in the world that a Kerry administration is going to at least make possible.

We want to do something on Election Day too; maybe drive voters or just call people up to remind them to vote. Again, way outside my comfort zone—but I can't justify inaction at this point. It's worth it.

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