Not three doors into my door-knocking experience -- part of the last-minute stumping campaign for Obama in Adams County -- I started to think, "Maybe the Obama campaign does have too much money."
My sister, her hubby and I had hit up the Obama HQ at 94th and Federal (essentially the basement offices of a Comfort Dental, minus the nitrous), where we were given addresses of what the Obama people referred to as "sporadic Democrats," or "sporadicrats" -- people who had pledged to vote for the big O but may have needed a little reminding. Off we went, hup, hup, and after finding no one home at the first two apartment doors that I knocked on at a sprawling, low-income housing project, the tenant at the third greeted me with an annoyed announcement: "You’re the fourth person to knock on my door in the last two days!"
"Well, have you voted?" I asked.
"Yes, I have!' he answered. The door then slammed in my face as a sort of visual exclamation point. A metaphor, perhaps.
For the most part, Obama-heads had been to this area before – though we were the first to hit it up on election day! Yet despite the constant, some might even say oppressive level of attention, that still didn’t mean the facts were right. As I followed the list that told me the names, sex and ages of people in the community who had pledged their affections to the Barack-ness Monster, I discovered that, more often than not, the people who were supposed to live in these particular units no longer did.
Sometimes this led to pleasant surprises, like the case of the Mexican man who didn’t speak any English and was certainly not the man I'd been expecting.
"Well, have you voted?” I asked him in Spanish.
He had, and when I asked him for who, he told me he had voted for el guero -- slang for the white boy.
I chided him for not voting for Obama, to which he quickly flip-flopped like some prize-winning New England Kerry-fish.
"Who are you with?" he asked me in his native tongue.
"Obama," I said, flashing him my stack of propaganda.
"I voted for him!" he said with the utmost certainty, smiling a row of sycophantic silver teeth.
Not sure who exactly this cholo voted for, I handed him all the materials I had on where to vote in that area (he said he had friends who were looking to vote) and continued on my way. He watched me go, smiling and waving.
Other surprises were not as pleasant.
"Have you voted today?" I asked another woman behind another door -- a woman who was also not the woman that lived behind the door according to my list.
"I most certainly have, but I most certainly didn’t vote for him," she hissed, pointing to the Obama sticker on my chest and then slamming the door.
Well, all right, I thought as I worked my way down the list. Good luck with all those sores on your forehead.
My favorite door was opened by a kid who proceeded to walk right out with a one-hitter and a lighter in his hand. He took a quick hit as he exited into the fresh air of his doorstep. He, too, was not who I was seeking, but he told me he was totally down with the Obama cause and he would be driving to his native Wyoming to vote in an hour.
"Hold on. I want to show you a text,” he said, retreating back into his apartment. He re-emerged with a Sidekick and showed me a text-message that someone had sent him that featured a cartoon Obama behind a podium and the words, "Chill the fuck out already. I got this!"
We had a good laugh at that and I moved on my way, wishing the little stoner a safe drive back to our neighbor to the north.
The next precinct we hit up was a Northglenn neighborhood of houses, as opposed to apartments, but it took us no time whatsoever to learn that another Obama door-knocker had been there "not ten minutes ago," as one perturbed resident told me. Not wanting to piss any voters off, we moved on to our third and final precinct, another batch of suburban houses that, as far as we could tell, no one had solicited today. Of course, this did not mean that the Obama campaign wasn’t all over that shit like black on bean for the last few days. But still we were fresh faces on this November 4th.
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SHOW ME HOW
For the most part, no one was home -- so we left information on where to vote and what time polls closed in the form of fancy little flyers we left hanging on their door knobs. But a few people were around. Most had already voted for Obama and were happy to talk about the man that they hope wins the presidency in a few hours. And there were actually a handful who needed the information that we provided, meaning that by spending just a few hours of our time, we actually motivated several people to get in their votes. If such efforts put us over the top in this state, groovy. But for the most part, it felt pretty cool to actually get out the vote, if only for half a day.
Feet sore, backs aching, we returned to the office to hand in our lists of sporadicrats, which we had checked off as either "voting," "not voting" or "left literature." The Obama campaign man in the basement of the Comfort Dental asked how our experience was and we all told him that we had quite enjoyed ourselves.
"Great," he said. "Well, then, if you guys don’t mind hitting up just one more neighborhood…"
"Actually we have to get him back to work," my sister interrupted him, gesturing over her shoulder towards me. "He has to write a blog." -- Adam Cayton-Holland