Part 1: Before the Election

Last Tuesday night I went to bed feeling the same way I did four years ago which was depressed, horrified, defeated and surprised. There was supposed to have been a mighty blue wave that would sweep away everything rotten about the last four years. Texas might turn blue. Smurfs red (not saying that would be a good thing, just saying I felt change coming). Instead I went to bed telling Corey and Henna that Biden might still win while knowing in my heart he would not. I went to bed afraid for my country.

Four years ago I voted. I wanted to do more this election so I purchased a lawn sign. Campaigns are as slick as auto traders and a twenty dollar sign ended up costing me about a hundred bucks (we can just send you the sign, but if you don’t pay for the shipping and a few other things your donation will be for nothing and Donald Trump will be reelected). The sign was great and will stay planted on my lawn until Trump leaves office or some punk kid steals it. But there is only so much a $100 and a lawn sign can do to sway an election. That is why I also decided to make some calls.

Although a bit terrifying at first, it was amazingly easy to make calls. You do so via an unholy combination between your own phone and a laptop. The laptop makes the calls and also tells you what to say via a flow chart. The only supervision/feedback offered from the Biden Campaign was via a Slack channel group which was the virtual place you sign in and out of. It seems, from that Slack channel, there were at any given time tens of thousands of people making phone calls on behalf of Joe Biden. I know that in one two hour period over a million phone calls were made.

Over a period of about two weeks I called Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas. Texas was by far the most exciting place to call. We called Texas the day after several polls showed that the state could go either way. The response from Texans was amazing. Over and over again people thanked me for calling. Most had already voted and were planning on voting the next day. Some asked me what they could do to help get Joe Biden elected. It was like an hour calling old friends. I think now that 1) we only called registered Democrats and 2) Texas Democrats are pretty much ignored by the outside world.

Calls to Minnesota and Pennsylvania sucked. We were told that it was a “deep list” of people we were calling (which translates to Republicans). I would ask them if I can count on their support for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and all the other Democrats running for election. They would laugh. Not a mean spirited laugh but rather a genuine, happy kind of laugh. One person told me I was barking up the wrong tree. Most everyone though was polite and thanked me when I offered to remove them from the list. There was an elderly woman in Minnesota though who said she wished we would all drop dead. Another voter called me a Communist.

I also talked to a woman living on a reservation in Arizona who wanted to vote but was not sure she had an Election-Day ride. A similar problem was also voiced by an elderly woman in Florida. I helped them the best I could which honestly was not much. Another woman in Florida told me that she already voted for Joe, donates money each month to the Democrats and on her own called several dozen people asking them to do the same. What this woman wanted more than anything was to stop getting more calls to vote. Also had a five minute conversation with a recently naturalized Canadian physician living in Arizona. He left Alberta to make more money in the States and has a deep distrust of anything smacking of socialized medicine. He was planning on voting for Kanye. A gentleman in Florida helped me better pronounce the VP-elect’s first name (“think comma, like a punctuation mark). Most people I called though simply hung up before I could say more than a few words.

On the day before the election there were too many callers for me to get on the necessary website. I did make a few calls on Tuesday but the connection was spotty and the effort felt wasted. Although nervous, I also felt pretty optimistic about the election. Nate Silver pegged Joe as having an 89.5% chance of winning and honestly I felt that was kind of low. We had this thing.

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