September 28, 2010
I am currently doing volunteer work for two candidates for office in November: one for my town, and one for my state. Some of my relatives and friends wonder why I do this. Here’s why (and why you should think about doing it, too).
- It’s tangible. If you are the kind of person who thinks about politics, and reads about politics, and talks (or complains) about politics, volunteering for a campaign is a way to actually do something about politics. Come Election Day, you will be have tangible actions to look back on, not just abstract ideas about what your candidate should or should not have done. Regardless of the results, you personally will have made a difference and met a goal.
- It’s educational. You may not be the chair of the DNC, but you can feel like a big fish in a local campaign office pond. You can learn about how politics really happens—the meetings, the phone banks, the door-to-door contacts, and the data collection. Did you know that each town has its own law about how many days before an election residents can display political yard signs? I learned that at my local campaign headquarters.
- It’s a social activity. How many times a day do you hold your tongue when you hear other people discussing politics? At your local campaign office, you are always among friends. You can speak your mind and know that the heads surrounding you will nod in agreement. At least on the big issues.
- It’s important. Getting out the vote is the be-all and end-all. Voting is the single most important way to change what you want changed in government. Sometimes, a vote is a total thumbs-up. Sometimes, it’s more of a lesser-of-two-evils affair. But voting is always better than not voting. So, volunteering to help get out the vote is like voting times two. You vote yourself, and you help ensure that other people vote, too.
- It has fringe benefits. When you volunteer at a campaign office, the people who work for the campaign are very nice to you. They need you, and they want you to want to come to the office and help out. Volunteering can be an ego booster if that’s what you need. And you might even wind up on You Tube.