Life can be a strange thing. It’s odd how I can realize that I love something, but then stop doing it for a months or years and totally forget how happy it makes me.
This happens to me a lot with yoga. I do it regularly for several months, get too busy, and stop doing it for months. Then I start up again and wonder why I ever stopped, only to stop again in a few months when life gets hectic again.
It apparently also happens with voter outreach. Back in 2008, I was practically a phone banking machine, phoning for Rebecca Kaplan’s City Council once a week for months leading up to the June election and then several times a week in September and October. Why? Well, I of course wanted Kaplan to win, but I also did it because I absolutely loved it. I apparently loved it so much that I wrote a blog post in September 2008 titled “Voter Outreach as Therapy“:
If you’ve never phoned for a candidate or issue before, it might seem strange, but electoral phoning is extremely therapeutic. You have to focus, pay attention, take cues from voters, so there’s no energy left to think about anything else. It really is a great form of meditation.
The energy in the office also helped lift my mood. The space is huge, and there were several volunteers downstairs and upstairs calling for various campaigns – Kaplan, Obama, Yes on 2, No on 4, No on 8. And because of the office’s excellent location at Broadway and 19th, people were literally walking in off the street to help out.
But then many months passed without another election. I think I managed a night of phoning for the special election in 2009, I phoned once for Victoria Kolakowski this Spring, and I phoned from home several times this summer for John Laird, but I fell out of the phone banking groove.
Last night, I got back into the groove, phoning at the United Democratic Campaign (UDC) headquarters for Boxer and Brown. And even though practically all I’ve been doing for the past few months is election related – at work and through East Bay Young Dems – it felt really good to talk to voters one on one.
After phoning, I felt so good that I stopped into Rebecca Kaplan’s campaign office and picked up walk lists and maps for the precinct I live in so I can walk it this weekend.
Regardless of who you’re supporting this November, I highly encourage you to get out there and walk or phone for at least one campaign. Not sure where to go? Chances are that you’ll find a campaign to volunteer for at 19th and Broadway, which has become the center of Oakland’s campaign universe. Here’s what you’ll find at that intersection:
United Democratic Campaign
Phoning for Boxer, Brown and the entire statewide Democratic ticket (will also be phoning for Libby Schaaf for City Council starting next week and probably other local candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party).
Contact Carla Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or Alex Boskovich at email@example.com.
Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor Campaign
Phoning for Kaplan Monday-Thursday from 5:30-8:30pm, and walking on Saturdays from 10am-1pm and Sundays from 11am-2pm.
Contact Jason Overman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And who knows, depending when you stop in, you just might see me there. I’ll be the one dialing rapidly, totally engrossed in phone conversations, and smiling.