We’ve attempted to register voters for a combined 30 hours over the past 3 days. Sometimes we see the fruits of our labor and other times there’s absolutely no reward for the time we’ve invested. So when we were told that we’d be taking a break and visiting journalist and former marine and politician Terry Anderson (the one who was kidnapped in 1985 in Beirut) I could not be more excited…until I saw the food he had prepared for us. I then became ecstatic. Eating a home cooked meal after 3 weeks of Buffalo Wild Wings, pizza, Chinese food, and other sorts of cheap stuff cannot be described in words alone. Now add dining with Terry Anderson and at 12am I’m not going to even try to put my feelings on paper. Our conversations were great. He opened his entire house to us. He explained his experience running for the state senate in a district that votes for the 3 G’s (god, guns, and gays). He told us about ethics, politics, and daily life. It was wonderful to have such discussions and especially listen to what he had to say. As part of our goodbyes he gave each of us an autographed book of his memoir, “Den of Lions”.
If you’re a follower of politics then the Unite for Change House Parties that the Obama Campaign coordinated across the country definitely came up on your radar screen whether you went to one or watched any cable television political show. I was fortunate to organize one and host two of them in Athens County, Ohio. The goal of the house parties was to kick off the grass roots program of the Obama campaign. I believe I was successful in doing that. What the house parties taught me, however, was that there are many knowledgeable, intelligent, passionate, and skeptical people in rural southeast Ohio. There’s a perception in areas of the country that rural, Appalachian voters make their political decisions based on illogical, gut feelings, or racist beliefs. While this may be true for part of the region, my house party last night showed me that there are those who understand the tricks and lies produced in a political campaign and actually care about the issues. These were smart people not falling for talking points and angered by Obama’s move towards the middle when commenting on the Supreme Court ruling dealing with the Washington, DC gun ban, and Obama’s FISA comments. It was refreshing to listen to people who looked at facts and policies and made a decision as opposed to flag pins and the pledge of allegiance. Obviously, this was only one house party of 25 in a region of millions, but these are the same people that will be walking around their neighborhoods and convincing those in their community that Obama is the best candidate for the job. The house parties made my week. They were one of those occurrences that gave me the energy I need to overcome the numerous obstacles and depressions that are encountered in this campaign.