Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The crazies

I could continue to go on and on about the chaos of this place, and the disappointment I feel about it, but I think I’ve painted a clear enough picture of the muddy grass roots already. So I thought I’d share some of the funny things that happen around here.

I think I may have touched on this already, how many people call here wanting to get a message to Kerry, under some mistaken belief that we actually a) could reach him or b) are here to convey messages to him. Most of these people are annoying, but some of them are just so out there that they are funny. Allow me to transcribe some voice messages for you:

In the deepest, most sultry, but very male-sounding voice:
Yes, good day. This is Emmauela Rambert. I would like to speak to Mr. Kerry, I would like to speak with him, because I have a message for him, and I would like to be doing a candidate for his campaign. My number is… and I would like for him to call me as soon as he gets a chance. Thank you, have a blessed day.

That’s just plain funny. On the more annoying side, there is this Native American woman in a wheelchair who rolled in here one afternoon with some “very important” materials that needed to be delivered to Kerry. She proceeded to talk Sarah’s ear off for an hour. And now she has taken to calling quite frequently. When I spoke to her once, she wanted to speak to Sarah again, except she hadn’t bothered to learn Sarah’s name! Last Friday Robert got stuck on the phone with her. Today she called insisting that someone come pick up some papers she had to get to Kerry. Here’s one of the messages she’s left on our voicemail the other day (having adopted Robert as her point person):

Yeah, Robert, uh.. this is Longlegs. [Yes, that is her Indian name.] Please give me a call. Uh…What I wanted to say is that… uh…we need to get somebody to uh… uh… uh… downplay Karen Hughes because Karen Hughes is Bush’s best spin-meister. Uh…we need to get someone to go head to head with her and stay calm enough and more mature than they get when they feel like they’re losing. Uh… okay, goodbye.

She left another message a bit later reminding us that we needed to pick someone who was a mother, too, just like Hughes.

If everyone who had an opinion about this campaign showed up to phone bank, we’d be overflowing with volunteers. But it is so much easier (and more fun) to just complain to someone than it is to actually try to do something about a situation. I will say, however, that disorganization is a real put-off for many people. (I know it is for me, but having reorganized my life to come down here, I’m sticking it out until the end, trying to do something, even if it turns out that it is not enough. The cause is honestly too important to not at least make that effort.) Tonight, for example, our phone banks were simply a series of disasters, of people not showing up to run them, of not being able to get into buildings, or use phones, etc. You can’t expect volunteers to make the effort to show up if you can’t show them you’ve made the effort to make sure things work smoothly. This is the kind of thing that makes me really mad, actually. There is too much of a “wing-and-a-prayer” attitude around here, where no one seems to know to take the steps to make sure that things are on-track and on-time. No one seems capable of saying “this is my responsibility,” and going out and being responsible for it. You can’t run a campaign like that—at least not a successful one. Well, it looks like I sunk back into my same-ole song once again! What can I say, I’m just giving it to you straight.

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