Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Well, after a day of canvassing in Allentown, PA, two incidents stand out to me as possible indicators of which way the election will go.

In the first instance, I was ringing the doorbell of a house which, according to my clipboard, indicated an elderly woman as well as a middle-aged woman who was presumably her daughter. A rather detailed, inkjet-printed sign affixed to the front door explained that should I wish to contact the elderly occupant, I should ring the doorbell and then wait "patiently." (I did so; there was no answer.) If I wanted to contact the daughter, I should go to a separate entrance at the rear of the house--so I did. I found there a large dog chained on a porch. The dog, I admit, was barking strenuously--but it was not until I approached the porch that I realized the dog's chain was much, much longer than I had realized. So I found myself sprinting down the driveway with the mad dog literally gnashing at my legs, wondering when the fucking chain would end. It eventually did, and the dog's jaws became detached from my leg. I then cautiously re-approached the porch, where it was clear that a person was lurking. "Hello?" I cried. It was the aforementioned daughter; and without reference to the dog attack she stepped down to speak with me. I gave my standard spiel (we were contacting only identified Kerry supporters at this point); and she refused to say which way she planned on voting, as it was none of my business. So I left, covertly examining my calf for signs of skin breakage.

Up the street, I went to the next address. The woman I was supposed to contact was just pulling into her driveway. She had several children with her. This woman was not only voting for Kerry, but had already been volunteering for the campaign. I thanked her and left. In the street outside her house was a group of young children--six, seven, eight years old--playing football in the street. My canvassing partner and I asked them who they were voting for, indicating that they clearly looked to be 18 and of voting age. Four of the five children were Kerry supporters. So we started an impromptu cheer of "Kerry! Kerry! Kerry!" right in the middle of the street, with the children literally jumping and pumping their fists in joy. We then disbursed buttons to the children. We noted that the buttons we were carrying happened to be Spanish language buttons--"Unidos con Kerry"--but the children (who looked to be of at least three different ethnicities) accepted them gladly. One of them confirmed the propriety of the gift by noting: "I'm Spanish." The sole child who was a Bush supporter was clearly a few years older than the other children, so we chalked up his transgression to his obvious need to differentiate himself from his younger playmates.

So, there we have it: two stops, two outcomes: a dog chomping at your leg, or children cheering in the middle of an empty suburban street. I guess it all comes down to this distinction.

I hope come tomorrow night the children will be celebrating the salvation of their future from the encroaching forces of terrorist-sympathetic fascism, and the dog will have appropriately forgotten about the whole thing.

Please remember to vote.


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