Since I don’t seem to have anything of substance to say, have some funny campaign stories instead.
A few weeks ago, I was out canvassing for my gubernatorial candidate (MC) with a new intern I was training. I think I’ve mentioned before that recently I’ve started using a cane because it’s hard for me to be on my feet for more than a few moment. Mostly people are polite about it or don’t mention it at all.
But this particular voter interrupted my spiel. “Hi, my name is Hope, this is J, and we’re with–“
“What’s wrong with you?”
He sounded curious, not hostile, but I was still taken aback. “Pardon?”
He pointed at my cane. “That. What’s wrong with you? Were you in the war? Lose a leg?”
I’m wearing a knee-length skirt, so it’s pretty clear I have both legs. I’m also not even sure which war he’s referring to. “Uh…no. I have an autoimmune disorder that sometimes makes it hard for me to walk.”
He then launched into a rambly story about his service in the war (from what I could gather, I think he meant Vietnam). He started to tell us about one of his friends, and then he interrupted himself mid-sentence. “Who are you?”
“My name is Hope, and this is J. We’re with MC’s campaign for governor.”
“Oh. What’s she running for?”
“And she’s making you come out here in this hot sun when you can’t even walk?”
“No, sir, I volunteer my time, so I chose to come out here today and talk to voters about her message of fairness, equality, and opportunity.” I was desperately trying to unsink a sinking ship. “Can she count of your vote in the primary?”
“Well, who else is running?”
I gave him a brief run-down of her two challengers in the Democratic primary and mentioned the Republican and Independent candidates who are also running.
“I might vote for that…what’s his name? Scott Brown.”
(For those of you not familiar with New England politics, Scott Brown is a Republican who beat my candidate for a US Senate seat in 2010 after Ed Kennedy died. In 2012, Elizabeth Warren beat him, and Brown is now carpetbagging in New Hampshire but so far trailing Jeanne Shaheen in the polls.)
“He’s not running in Massachusetts this time.”
“He’s not? Well, I’ll vote for the Democrats. I always vote for the Democrats. Been voting for ’em for 40 years.”
“That’s great. So can MC count on your vote in the Democratic primary?”
“Tell you what, I’ll vote for her ’cause you’re out here in this hot sun with your walker. But I might vote for Scott Brown in November.”
“All right, sir, well, thank you for you time. Have a good afternoon!”
As we were walking away, my intern looked at me and asked, “So…is that normal?”
I had to reassure him that no, that was not a typical voter contact conversation, and that this far from the election, most voters are still going to be undecided, assuming they’re even home to open the door.
I’ve also been doing a farmers’ market table for my AG candidate (MH) on Saturday mornings. My town is heavily Democratic, tends to be a younger age bracket because there are five colleges in the area, and is the lesbian capital of the country. So overall, we tend to have mostly open-minded, respectful people. But not all of them….
The first weirdo I got yesterday walked over to my table.
“Hi! Would you like some information about MH?”
Bear in mind, he’s walked over to my table that has four large “MH for Attorney General” signs taped to it, and I’m wearing two MH buttons and handing out palm cards.
“She’s a candidate for attorney general.” I gave him a brief spiel about what she’s already accomplished working under our current AG (who also happens to be my gubernatorial candidate). “Are there any particular issues you’re interested in this election?”
“What’s that thing in your nose?”
It’s allergy season, so my first thought was that I might have a huge booger, but all I can feel is my nose ring. “What, my nose ring? Just jewelry.”
“Does she know about that?” he asked sternly.
“Um…maybe? She’s met me a number of times, but I don’t know for sure because she’s never commented on my jewelry.” I tried to hand him a palm card. “So can she count on your vote in the primary?”
“I’m from Connecticut.” And then he just walked off.
The second weirdo came up to the table and pointed at the signs. “Who’s that?”
“MH? She’s running for attorney general. Are you familiar with her at all?”
I gave him the same spiel I give everybody–fought big banks, kept Massachusetts homeowners in their homes, defeated DOMA, advocated for people with disabilities, fought for women’s rights.
“Well, why do we need a woman?”
“Why not?” I said. “A woman can do just as good a job.”
“No, they’re always too worried about their kids.”
“Well, MH doesn’t have any kids.”
“They make lousy lawyers, too.”
“Are you aware that our current attorney general is a woman?”
He looked at me like I was trying to pull something over on him. “You sure?”
“Yes, sir. Her name’s MC, and she’s been our attorney general for the last 7 years. MH has been working under her.”
“But she’s quitting the job?”
“Right, she won’t be the attorney general after this year.”
“Good. Shouldn’t have a woman in a man’s job.”
I grinned. “She won’t be attorney general anymore because she’s running for governor, and she’s way ahead in all the polls.”
He went off grumbling something about “goddamn women.”
Mostly, though, the people I deal with are very nice and not like these people. And these ones weren’t even mean, just…they make you shake your head as they walk away and mumble, “Ooooookay then” because, really, what else can you say?