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LittleClarkie's Journal
Day 1
Working the Campaign HQ front desk on Friday

I encountered mixed back of callers and visitors. One guy called and wanted to know if he came down to HQ if he could see the secret Democrat documents on the campaign. "What?" I replied. "The one's that show how you're gonna accuse people of cheating the vote." "Um, sir, if you'd like to speak to someone here, I can take your name and number." "Oh, no no no." "What do you want then." "I want you guys to not intimidated the voters." "Well, sir, I'm not." "Oh, maybe YOU'RE not, but just tell them." "Okay, and if you would sir, please don't listen to gossip." "I don't think I am." "I do." Click.

Another call: "Tell John Kerry I think he's a good and intelligent man, but if the negativity of the campaign doesn't stop, I may not vote." She said she'd sent a similar message to the Bush campaign. The funny thing about this call was that she thought we have some sort of direct line to the candidate.

I got one call from a woman who was going back to Taiwan this next week, and wanted desperately to vote before she went. Her absentee ballot hadn't come yet. That was a frustrating one, as I couldn't help her much.

A helpful fellow had done some internet research on absentee ballots and could prove that all the Bush leaning suburbs had gotten all or most of the ballots they wanted, and that Milwaukee was the only one who didn't get what they wanted. I promised to pass on his information if it turned out we needed it. Luckily right about then the news came out that we'd gotten all the ballots needed in Milwaukee. Woo hoo!

One gay person came in, got signage and stuff and kept saying over and over, "Please call me. I want to volunteer. I mean it. I will do whatever is needed. I don't think I can take 4 more years." I told him that I thought we had a good chance, and explained what the polls are not showing. He seemed to appreciate that." A woman came in, got some rainbow signage, and said that she didn't understand what the fuss about Mary Cheney was. It hadn't offended her.

I discover at one point that my co-worker on the front desk came in for a week from DC. He's originally from Wisconsin, and so felt he had to come and help out his home state, considering DC is about a blue as you can get.

Another guy called from Illinois, saying he had a group put together that included someone who'd just gotten back from Afghanistan, a photographer who'd spent much time photographing in the Middle East, and a dedicated school teacher. I hand-delivered that one.

Day 2
Highlights of the GOTV Convention
It was quite cool actually. I went to the one in Milwaukee, but I was told that we were only one of several going on all over Wisconsin. I think they said we had about 4000 GOTV people meeting, from ward captains and their helpers to other volunteers who will be helping in the last 5 days. We heard speeches from the local campaign people first (well, one not so local -- a lawyer from D.C. who's coordinating the campaign). They say this is the biggest campaign organization this state has ever seen. The staff is doubled from the Gore campaign. The ward captains are tripled -- in fact the ward captain program was quite progressive and new. The idea was to make this a very face-to-face campaign. They said they have never had this many people training for GOTV before. It was the most incredibly organized campaign any of them had seen in recent memory. One guy, whom everyone calls "Feingold Brian" reminded us that Feingold won his first election by 52 votes. If you don't think that every vote counts, he said, think again.

Then there was Gwen Moore, who is trying to become the first black Congresswoman in Wisconsin. She was very uplifting in her message, saying that she wasn't supposed to be there. Everyone figured she didn't have enough publicity, or money or organization to get nominated. But the media didn't know about one thing, she said. "They didn't know about y'all," she almost whispered, as if she didn't want Bush to figure. We cheered. In fact, we cheered alto during that portion of the convention. It almost seemed like a revival at times. Everyone chanted, "You go Gwen!" Next we met one of the Killer "D's" from Texas from the state legislature. She told of having to sneak out of the state to go give aid to Dems in Oklahoma. Perhaps some of you know the story. I don't know it well enough to relate it well, except that it was interesting that apparently Bush, Ashcroft and Co. invoked the Patriot Act on these people as the Republicans tried to figure out where the Sam Hill these people were, as they were NOT in session. She talked about how Bush screwed up Texas, about the lapdancing tax for education initiative -- nicknamed "Tits for Tots." A couple of cute acronyms she threw at us: WD40 -- White Democrats over 40 and saying that she wanted to see some BMW's in the community -- Black Males Working. The biggest surprise during this "red meat" portion of the meeting was a visit by the Milwaukee mayor, Tom Barrett, who talked about this campaign being unprecedented in its organization. He assured us that we would have the ballots we needed.

We had a reporter from the Washington Post sitting in, and I noticed cameras with "Fox News" on them, I assume for the local affiliate.

The last part of the convention was spent talking about volunteering for the last five days. I found out where to go as a "floater" as I am in a "red" county, and wanted to work in Milwaukee, because often as goes Milwaukee, so goes the state. There will be many calls to make and doors to knock on in the last few days. We found out who to call in case of trouble, which we are fully expecting on the North Side, our Black stronghold.

After the convention, I went to trivia at the local pub. At one point after the game, as a guy was leaving he stopped to have a few words with the owner, on whose team I was on. They were planning some event for around November 2. The guy replied he couldn't do anything ON November 2, as it was election day. He had plans to hunker down and do a shot for each state that turned Red. I commented that it was going to be MY job on that day to see if I could keep him stone cold sober. He asked why. I said I was working on the campaign. He asked which one (duh). "The Blue one, dear." "Oh, you mean the one that's going to try and pull off the biggest fraud this state has ever seen." I told him he'd been listening to too much Conservative radio and that there wasn't any fraud (well, as much as usual, I suppose, as per any election) He said, "Sure there is. You guys are going to try and steal the election. You know, you guys can go to China, or North Korea, or Cuba or something. I don't have any place to go." "Hrrr?" I replied. "You Communists. You have places to go, we don't." I asked what he wanted, a one party system? "No, I'm fully willing to accept the Republicans as the Left party and some other party as the more Right-wing." He called me a Communist, I called him a Fascist -- we had a lovely time. Just then, luckily, nature called, so I had a convenient excuse. Ugh. What the HELL was he talking about?!?! It's like we're being outlawed in our own country. HELP.

Day 3
At church
Today was alittle more uplifting. I got a request from one churchgoer for more signs, as all the one s in the neighborhood had been taken. No problem. Another churchgoer, someone who said he was voting Kerry but never wanted any stuff, suddenly wanted a sign for his yard. I got over there with one later on, and talked to his wife. This man and his wife are both in their late 60's or early 70's, with a son in the Marines. The wife surprised me with the distress in her voice. She said "It's becoming a desperate battle. It's like the democracy in our country will cease to exist as we know it unless we get Bush out of there. I don't think we can stand 4 more years." How often have you all heard that refrain. Don't let anyone tell you that Christians are all for Bush!




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