Sunday, January 20, 2008
reno, NV. jan 15-20.
Alex's mom drove us to a nearby town so we could take a greyhound bus to Reno. We got a subsidized casino rate, bought the most watery hot chocolate I have ever tasted, and set sail. On the bus, I delved back into Kerouac, reading of his adventures through Reno on his way to the bay area. Surrounded by old ladies looking to gamble, we were on a mission to get a man elected.
We got there late, checked into our cheap -- but also clean -- motel 6 and went to sleep. Early the next morning we strolled into the office, feeling a little overwhelmed by the chaos that defines political campaigning, and were introduced to Mike from Santa Cruz, whom I now know as one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. We were tossed into a car, after a brief overview of ideas and facts we already knew, and headed with Mike over to Kathy's house -- our home base for canvassing.
Canvassing is the process by which you knock on potential caucus-goers' doors in order to remind or persuade them to caucus for your candidate. We spent the majority of our time in Reno doing this, with intermittent assembly-line tasks in the evening. Our organizer, Roger, just graduated also and chose to commit the next year or so of his life supporting the political aspirations of Barack Obama. Alex and I came for a week. Roger is from New York and was assigned to Reno back in June or July. Since then, he has been working 80 hour weeks as an unpaid intern and then was offered a staff position as the fall rolled around. He hasn't got much sleep since he started, but is by far the most capable and fearless and dedicated 22 year old I have ever encountered.
I won't delve into the details, but suffice it to say that my hope in politics is beginning to be restored. I met dozens of people who gave up large chunks of their life to commit themselves to the future of our nation. I saw the nastiest of tactics by the Clinton camp and the apathy of the electorate. I saw numbers and polls and I watched the sadness and disappointment in the eyes of believers. This week has sparked joy and excitement and connection with the people I've met and hatred and apathy and anger with many I haven't. I am beginning to see my place in the whole, and to understand how I am being molded by the hands of this experience.