A Tale of Two Phonebanks
I started at the Culver City Studios site. Yes, the movie studio lot on which the Atlanta burning scene from Gone With the Wind was filmed! I arrived about 12:30pm, and was shocked by how many people were there. The Commissary where we were calling from was bursting at the seams with people!
The organizers said twice as many people had shown up as had RSVP'd. Usually, you're lucky if 20% of the people who RSVP to an event actually show up. To get 200% is unprecedented. Amazing. Wonderful!
When I first arrived, they were out of call sheets - but told the large group waiting to get in to hold on - they'd have more in a few moments. Got my call sheet and went to the first open table. I got so lucky. One of the guys at the table was truly as funny as Jon Stewart, and made comments after nearly all his calls that were truly funny. I never did find out if he was an actor or a writer - he should be both! And there was another funny guy at the table as well. I wished they could have just riffed off each other, but both were very dedicated to the task at hand.
We were calling New Mexico. I don't know how the list was filtered, but every live person I reached but two had already voted for Obama, and the other two were planning to vote for him on election day.
Somewhere around 1:30pm, the people running the phone bank had us all to stop in our tracks, and switch to Indiana!! We were told they were switching several CA phone banks to Indiana. Wow! Evidently the campaign feels they have a real chance in Indiana.Indiana! They haven't gone for a Democrat since the 50s!
After a couple of sheets worth of calls, the bank ran out of numbers, again. This had been happening all day. But this time, the wait seemed interminable, so I left and went to the nearby Obama SoCal HQ to see if they were getting lists.
Imagine walking into a small office that might reasonably seat 40 people. Now imagine about 300 people in that space. (That's probably overstated, but it was a lot of people!) People were sitting on the floor, under tables, on desks, in hallways, just about anywhere there was butt space, frankly! And all totally heads down, calling, calling!
I was lucky enough to arrive just as someone left a chair, so I at least got to sit on a chair. The nearest person to me was this talented 15 year old young woman, who was so upset that she couldn't vote, but who was as professional as the best caller I'd heard. Another guy at our little hallway makeshift table told me he'd spent six hours yesterday in line to cast his ballot in Norwalk, the sole location for early voting in Los Angeles County. The last person at our table said this was the first time she'd been excited about the Democratic nominee since John Kennedy.
You just can't believe the dedication of these people. THIS is why Obama will win. This is a veritable army, the likes of which I've never seen, and I've worked on a few campaigns now. I mean, when you get twice the number of people showing up who RSVP'd, you know you have something very special going on.
I'm beginning to think this will be a landslide. But only if we keep the pressure up.
Btw the people I actually reached (as opposed to the ones I left messages for) in Indiana were more likely to be McCain supporters than Obama supporters, but it wasn't by a large margin.
If you haven't gotten involved yet, just take a couple of hours and hit a local phone bank. Sign up on the Obama site and go to "My Events" and you'll easily be able to find all kinds of options in your area. One of my friends was holding a phone bank at her home. But I wanted to be with the masses. But if you like small, quiet affairs, you can do that too. Lots of options.
It's just inspiring. There's something about masses of people pulling towards common cause that just makes me choke up a bit. Something is really happening. I'm CERTAIN the reason the country is turning blue on political maps is due to this incredible, and incredibly passionate army of supporters.