Friday, October 08, 2004

You hear that sucking sound?

It’s the sound of Robert and me being sucked into the vortex of the campaign. It seems unimaginable that only a few days ago I was feeling that I didn’t have a defined role, that I didn’t feel useful. Now I wish I could clone myself! Today we had a 15 hour day in the office, and I was never at a loss for things to do. The snafu of the moment is the following: people have been led to believe, by our own poorly-written phone scripts, that they can request an absentee ballot by phone from our office. This of course is not true—you have to request it from the Supervisor of Elections. (We have forms you can fill in and be sent one, but we don’t send out ballots, obviously.) It is beyond enervating to listen to some poor people fall through the cracks as they leave muffled messages on our machine with their address, and no phone number, believing they have just requested a ballot. So, having learned the lesson of yesterday, I put a stern warning about this on our machine. It is frightening to see how easy it is to make potentially damaging mistakes in this effort. It is a very messy business, this campaign stuff, and to make it even somewhat efficient and effective, you have to be very organized, and we have a couple strikes against us on that front. Robert and I cannot believe how essential to this effort we have quickly become, how much of a difference we make on a daily basis. I guess it was only a matter of ceasing to resist this fact that I was going to inevitably come into some sort of important role, simply because I’m capable and because I’m there. I still get very frustrated, and I’m increasingly assertive in the office, but I know I can’t let that frustration prevent me from just making the effort, from continuing to do whatever it is I can. I’m convinced that everything else I do in life will seem blissfully well-managed and neat in comparison to this campaign.

Hopefully the debate tomorrow will begin to give Kerry an edge in the polls. I don’t understand how the country can be so divided. The news on Iraq gets worse and worse, and yet people seem not to be listening, or for some reason, they don’t mind the fact that we went to war on false premises. It annoys me that this election is going to be close. I also have a bad feeling that things are not going to go smoothly, especially here in Florida. Already a bunch of thorny legal issues with recounts and registration cards have sprouted up, this being in addition to the concern and distrust of the county’s ability to conduct a fair election, stemming from what happened in 2000. It will be some sort of miracle I think if we know who will be the next president on November 2.

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