Monday, October 30, 2006

cutting turf, mobilizing volunteers, and trying to win an election (or several dozen)

every election season SEIU gives us a chance to go out in the field in the 7-10 days leading up to the big day. it requires sleeping infrequently, working very long days, and keeping you energy up somehow (i prefer old-fashioned donuts and caffeine).
given the choice between calm 8-9 hour days doing things i have a chunk of experience with and working 15 hours days doing things i haven't done much before, what did i choose? well, i am sucker for justice and stuff, so clearly i chose the latter.
i got to the SE PA center of operations for our GOTV effort. It is a crazy place. It's a church nestled in a residential community a few blocks from the schuylkill river and kelly drive in East Falls (Philadelphia). I walked into the church and the sacntuary has been turned into a democracy war room. There is red/white/blue crepe paper strewn accross the pillars. If there were ever pews they have been moved aside. Now the room is full of folding tables, phones, power strips, computers, white erase boards, chalk boards, chatter, cell phone chargers, crackberries, union activists, and junk food. All the ingredients we need to win an election, i suppose.

from early in the morning until quite late at night folks are working the phones frenetically. Is Mrs. Rampierri home? I need 200 copies of that precinct report. stat. etc. Everyone is moving almost all the time. New folks come in and immediately get swept up into the campaign. If the level of intensity in the operation is an indicator, we are in good shape. There were a couple dozen folks working today covering the progressive rainbow, muslims, jews, whites, african-americans, latinos, unions dudes, enviros, and everyone else untied chiefly by an opposition to the disgusting agenda foisted on a country that deserves better.

Today i spent most of the day calling union members and trying to get our election day volunteer canvassing team fully staffed. Lots of busy signals, some connections, a few successes. Now i am waiting to get a file so i can help develop the precinct plans. I'll help design the routes for election day gotv teams to follow. I love maps, logistics, and data, so it should be fun (err, interesting for a short while). Anyways, i gotta get back to cutting turf, as we call it, so think about taking tuesday off to work on an election near you. If we win big, you'll want to say you had a part in it. if we don't win big...well, nevermind that, with your help we're going to win big.


At 10/31/2006 , Anonymous rdl said...

oh man. i just love the energy in your post today. there is something so romantic about the preparation before an election, the buzz, the flyers, the people from all walks. enjoy it. and let me know when you come up with a good bracha for doing campaign work and/or voting.

ps. post some pictures if you can.

At 10/31/2006 , Anonymous ebk said...

needs to be monerized so to speak but none the less

A prayer for voting
by Rabbi David Seidenberg, 1992

Harayni muchan b'hatsba`ati
Here I am prepared with my vote
lid'rosh shalom ba`ad ham'dinah hazot
to seek peace for this country
k'mo shekatuv
as it's written
v'dirshu et sh'lom ha`ir asher higlayti etchem shamah
"And you will seek peace for the city to which I exile you
there..." (Jer 29)

Y'hi ratson mil'fanekha adonai elohai velohay horai
May it be your will YHVH my God and God of my ancestors
k'shaym shehishtatafti biv'chirut hayom
that just as I have participated in elections today
kayn ezkeh l'ma`asim tovim ul'tikun `olam b'kol ma`asai
so may I attain to good deeds and to repairing the world
through all of my actions

Titayn lanu ul'khol ha`amim bam'dinah hazot
May you give us and all the peoples in this country
z'khut lirdof tsedek ul'vakaysh shalom k'agudah achat
the opportunity to pursue righteousness and to seek peace
as a united bloc
v'titayn layv chokhmah l'mi she'anu bochrim hayom
and may you give a wise heart to whomever we choose today
v'tisa' hamemshelet hazot l'tovah uliv'rakhah l'chayim tovim ul'shalom
and raise up this government for good and blessing,
for good lives and for peace
`alaynu v`al kol yisra'el v'`al kol yoshvay tayvayl v`al y'rushalayim
for us and for all Israel and all the world's inhabitants
and for Jerusalem
k'mo shekatuv
as it's written
v'hitpal'lu ba`adah el adonai ki bish'lomah yih'yeh lakhem shalom
"...and pray for her sake to YHVH for in her peace will be your
peace." (Jer 29)

Viy'hi no`am adonai elohaynu `alaynu
"May the pleasure of my lord our God be on us
uma`aseh yadaynu kon'nah `alaynu
and the work of our hands -- establish her for us
uma`aseh yadaynu kon'nayhu
and the work of our hands be established" (Psalm 90)


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