Canvassing for Obama, February 28, Kennedy Plaza

I took the bus downtown, with a few campaign flyers in my hand. A group of teenagers got on at the Thayer St. tunnel. One kid was talking to another, it was ‘nigguz’ this and ‘nigguz’ that. It wasn’t even fighting words, this was just normal conversation. I said to him, “Young man, that’s not a good word.� I handed him a flyer.

He didn’t get angry, more like total incomprehension as to what I meant. He handed the flyer back and started talking to a girl in Spanish. A couple of high school girls saw this and immediately asked me for flyers. They are excited about this candidate. I hope their parents will vote for him.

I went to Obama HQ, on Westminster St. I am convinced that the bus stop is the place to be, although the campaign organizer says that approaching random people has been shown to be ineffective. But he let me take a sign and more flyers. I’m signed up to canvass on the weekend anyway, and I’ll stick to their plan.

This time I walked to Kennedy Plaza and held up my sign. I was really feeling the love. Contrary to all my previous experience distributing literature, I didn’t need to chase anyone. People came up to me. Most of them were young, probably too young to vote, but I talked to a good number of people who were registered and determined to vote on March 4th.

A few boys yelled, “Hillary!� I doubt that meant they were going to vote for her. I talked to a couple of women who were Hillary Clinton supporters and it was friendly enough. I don’t have any trouble saying good things about Senator Clinton. I’m a feminist from way back. It even feels good to me to say, ‘Senator Clinton’. I’m proud of her. But I’ve listened to both candidates and Barack Obama is my choice. Sure beats the ‘lesser of two evils’ voting I’ve done most of my life.

Before my hands froze totally solid I got into this conversation with some teenage girls, “Why’re you not voting for the white lady?�

“I think Barack Obama’s the better candidate,â€? I replied.

“He’ll just get shot if they elect him.� she said.

I told the girls that I had lived through the decade where so many of our leaders were assassinated, or shot and injured. I told them that all the candidates who get up in front of crowds are brave, but you have to fight for what you believe in.

These girls were born a generation after those days, but the murder of our leaders left scars on our country. A long period of disengagement and despair. Now there’s hope. And now, for the first time in my life, my vote really counts.

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