On Saturday I joined my local get-out-the-vote effort and spent a few hours knocking on doors for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. It was a beautiful day to be out walking around, and I enjoyed the activity. For me the central pleasure is having an excuse to engage strangers to talk about politics. I was armed with stickers on my shirt and a clipboard. Clearly, I was duly deputized to ring people’s doorbells and ask whoever answered how they thought their elected representative in congress are doing.
I was fun. And I learned a few things about my neighbors and fellow citizens.
One thing I learned is that people really don’t take care of their doorbells like they used to. Homes with functioning doorbells were a distinct minority. The other thing I learned was that the good people of Portsmouth appear to have better things to do on a gorgeous Saturday in August than staying home to attend to random canvassers like myself. Nobody was home.
But I was able to engage a few people. The people I spoke with were uniformly pleasant. They were not angry or overly disillusioned. Times are tough. But most places seem to be worse off than Portsmouth. Peoples’ concerns were general and economic. We’re in a hole, but the Democrats are the ones trying to dig us out. Even the guy who was “definitely not a fan” of the Democratic party applauded my civic-minded purpose.
Mostly, my mission was to not take more of people’s time than they seemed inclined to give. I wanted to be sure and state the names of our candidates. Representative Carol Shea-Porter. Paul Hodes for senate. Governor John Lynch. I was on their doorstep to extend a personal invitation to come on out and vote in November. I wished them a pleasant weekend and was on my way.