I just wrote this to post in my own journal tonight, but I thought the people in this community might like it. It's about what you can do in the next thirteen days from the comfort of your own butt to help elect John Kerry. I'm not looking to debate or discuss the election, really. I just thought I'd put it out there for anyone who is interested. Plus I'm following my own advice, as you'll see at the end. Anyway, enjoy and pass on, or ignore and don't pass on. But have a fine day and don't forget to bring a friend to the polls on Nov. 2nd!
Calls to action/ guilt trips I've posted in the past have mostly been about donating money to particularly useful organizations. Now that there are less than two weeks to go before the presidential election, I'm here to tell you about something you can do that doesn't involve parting with any of your hard-hoarded cash.
Make phone calls to swing states.
We (John Kerry and me) had a nice cushy lead after the president bombed the debates. But apparently sloth and ignorance will always win out over informed and thoughtful decisionmaking, because Bush recently surged ahead of Kerry in the polls by as many as 8 points. I know all this talk about polls is sickening, so I'll stop now. The point is: this election is going to be really close, and if we lose by 200 votes a lot of us will be left wondering why we didn't do more. A Bush administration that doesn't worry about being held accountable by being up for reelection again is a mighty frightening thing.
So here's what you can do:
1) Go right to the source and utilize the Kerry-Edwards volunteer call center at http://calls.johnkerry.com. All you have to do is register and promise not to abuse the system, and you'll recieve a list of registered Democrats' phone numbers, a script to guide you, and forms to send back the information you get. Right now the calls are dedicated to finding people sympathetic to the cause willing to volunteer in their state to get out the vote.
2) Go to Vote All Your Values and register to use their call center. They're non-partisan and faith-based, so if you're uncomfortable with that you should either steer clear or find a way to adapt. The focus of this organization is to get registered voters who might not actually get out and vote to actually get out and vote. They provide rides to polling places, directions to polling places and voting instructions. They're great.
3) Guess who else is helping people in non-swing-states get out the vote? That's right! MoveOn PAC! When you register you're asked a number of questions about how you can best volunteer for the cause. Most likely you'll be a Precinct Partner, which essentially means door-to-door canvassing in a swing state, only through your telephone and teamed up with a bunch of people in and out of that state. But there's more! I volunteered to do tech support for Precinct Partners so when they have trouble getting their printer to work or figuring out how to access their call lists, their call is routed to my home phone number and I'll have a guide that will help me help them. You'll be exposed to all of the opportunities by registering once, so get to it. If you live in a swing state, go to http://www.moveonpac.org/lnvb/. If you live outside of a swing state, go to http://www.moveonpac.org/precinctpartners/signup.html.
4) Last (and possibly least, given their limp record over the past few years) is the Grand Old Democratic Party. You bet they're getting out the vote! Sign up to volunteer at http://www.democrats.org/vplunteer/index.html and choose the activities you're interested in (hosting an organizing meeting, canvassing, phone banking, help with mailings, drive your car for errands, data entry...). They'll contact you shortly and set you up with everything you need to do what you gotta do. And whatever you do, bring a friend! It'll take the edge off that stiff old Party line.
I've done a little bit of online phone banking in the past and though it was harrowing at first, I figured out how to be genuine with the people I was calling and really began to enjoy it. With the programs I've listed you can make calls whenever you want (so long as you're not disturbing the person you're calling) and make as many or as few calls as you can. It's entirely up to you. So if you've spent the last four years complaining about what ever happened to democracy, get active for these next 14 days (13 by the time you read this) and take responsibility for whatever happens come Nov. 3rd. (*note: In the event of a recount or egregious election-stealing, don't feel obligated to take responsibility. Take a vacation. In another country. Until 2008.)
5) Cut and paste this whole message and post it to your blog, your myspace page (you loser), an email that you're going to send to like-minded-but-not-necessarily-active friends. I'm not kidding about that taking responsibility thing. I'm going to be SO pissed at each and every one of you if we lose this election to a man who literally cannot pronounce the word 'nuclear' and argued with one of his generals that Sweden has no army because it's "that neutral country." (The country the president was thinking of is actually called Switzerland, and though politically neutral, Switzerland has a small army to protect against possible invasion.) Have fun out there.