Today I went canvassing for John Kerry's campaign in Norristown, PA, a suburb of Philladelphia. My girlfriend, Katherine, and I drove 2.5 hours from Washington, DC to volunteer for the campaign. It was her idea. She felt guilty that she hadn't volunteered in awhile, so it was mandatory for us to go. It didn't take much convincing, though. I wanted to see what these swing states were all about.
We were asked to go to a section of Norristown that was already heavily Democratic, but we brought literature and lawn signs to distribute anyway. Norristown is a small, poor town. For the most part, residents earn their wages from union and non-union service jobs.
Our job was to remind them to vote on Nov. 2, let them know where their voting location is, and see if they wanted lawn signs. A vast majority of residents support John Kerry and can't wait to vote out Pres. Bush. I was surprised by a couple of things:
- The 4 block X 4 block area we canvassed was very diverse. We met Indian-Americans, Korean-Americans, Romanian-Americans, African-Americans, and Vanilla-Americans (read "white").
- People love lawn signs. In fact, kids convince their parents to take lawn signs and put them in. Nobody wanted literature, but many people wanted multiple lawn signs.
I was rejuvenated by the energy and genuine interest expressed by these residents of Norristown. My residents. One older man -- must have been in his 70's -- told us about his service in WWII and his admiration for John Kerry's military service. Several African-American families literally jumped out of their chairs to put John Kerry signs in their yard. Split-vote households had strong female Democrats stubbornly refusing to take down John Kerry posters at the request of their Republican husbands.
The few Republicans I came across had very little to say in support of their choice. One man scowled through his smile enough to say "time for target practice" as we left his stoop. Other men -- and they were all older white men -- only shook their fists and laughed mockingly. One even brought out a Bush-Cheney sign from his basement. Funny how he professed such admiration for the President, yet had to go dig his lawn sign out from the basement. I just wasn't very impressed.
I know that Democrats are more diverse, by every standard and category, than Republicans. However, I felt satisfied to have my own personal proof. During his campaign, Gov. Dean used to always say that low and middle income families had more that united them, regardless of race or religion, than divided them. I'm glad everyone is figuring that out for themselves.
Kerry is going to win, and I will have helped in Norristown, PA.