Report from Mcnerney-ville
by argghh, Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 04:38:34 PM EST
I thought I'd share this email I sent out to my family and friends at 2:30am last night when I got back from Tracy, California. A little context: My family has a long tradition of radical politics, communists, sixties revolutionaries, etc...This is my coming out email for going "mainstream"... :) also, much of what follows goes ditto for the netroots in a virtual sorta way...
"Dear family and friends...
Spent all day today working out in Tracy at the Mcnerney campaign to unseat Richard Pombo (with my cousin Katie and friend Eric!) and I must say this was one of the more wonderful days of my life. It's hard to describe the feeling of tromping around all day in the beautiful weather, surrounded by SUVs, quiet neighborhoods, streets that are all named either Sycamore Way or Weeping Willow Lane, huge lines at the polling station, the ragtag band of rebels gathering at the home of Martha Gamez, perhaps my greatest hero of all time--a woman in her sixties who hasn't slept more than 2 hours a night for a week organizing this vast army of eager but entirely clueless Bay Areans into an eager, happy bunch of door-knockers and still managing to give out hugs and laughs and wow Americans sure can be decent wonderful people sometimes. Today was the day the last smoldering coals of cynicism died in my Election-2000-encrusted-heart. As the sun went down on the vast flat aquamarine skies of the valley, and we stood at the poll watching a huge line of happy, talkative voters wait patiently for their turn and a little posse of sleazy-looking Republicans started snooping around and looking ominous and I thought "No, today, you are not going to do anything. Because we are here. For the first time, I am not watching you fuck this up on the news afterwards anymore. I am here, and so are thousands upon thousands like me. There's Jeb who sat (mostly stood) all day at the poll, that's 12 hours if you're counting, watching for problems. There's Lee who I became best friends with for a day as we got lost in the spiraling suburbs over and over, there's Carolyn who's been traveling across the country with her husband in their RV and they decided to stop here in Tracy for a month and get this election won. And more..."
From now on, anytime you hear me say anything bitter or angry about the American people, you remind me of this day. You remind of the folks in their seventies and the college kids who patiently knocked at doors and worked like their lives depended on it and shocked those little worms. The operatives who were flown in from DC by Pombo and the RNC were defeated by a mob of smiling seniors and housewives and berkeley students and painters and laborers. And then while I was standing there as the poll wrapped up and talked to my friend Eric who said it sounded like they were projecting a 30 seat pickup for Dems a chill went through me. I thought, everywhere around the country in small towns in Nebraska and Colorado and New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, there were people just like me doing this very thing and it meant something. The Democrats hardly even matter in this equation, and they will probably do their best to squander this. But it's too late. People know that working hard enough and watching enough and caring enough actually do make the little guy win every once in a while. That's a very dangerous feeling to have. I've never worked a campaign before on the street, and I will never let one go by again without knocking on some doors. I saw this short, balding, rather quiet, decent older alternative-energy consultant start with a write-in campaign and finish by defeating one of the most powerful, corrupt and poisonous people in congress. And all we did was go door to door and talk to folks. I know I'm not the only one who's gone all-in on this process now. I live here, my beautiful niece and nephew live here, my wonderful parents live here, all my amazing cousins and uncles and the spirits of our grandparents and we honor them in this work. I'm tired of being angry at this place. Time to make some things grow that (my nieces and nephews) Orion and Ivy and Sebastian and the generation before them can tend when they get old.
If you ever want to see where this war is going to be won, walk out on those streets with these people some day. You might never be able to curse or generalize again."