I have just returned from my first gig as a volunteer for the North Carolina Clinton campaign, and I thought folks might be interested in my reactions. I put in two hours pushing voter registration in front of the Harris-Teeter supermarket in the University Mall in Chapel Hill. I write as a Bernie supporter, a Clinton campaign worker, an anarchist, a Marxist, and an unabashed sentimentalist.
First, let me give you a worm’s eye ground level report of how the national campaign is going. If the rest of America is like Chapel Hill, then I can confidently predict that 99% of eligible voters are already registered and will vote, 95% of them will vote for Clinton, and the Democrats will take North Carolina so overwhelmingly that you will need to go to the Museum of Unnatural History to see a Republican. Of course, some sceptics may say that Chapel Hill is not entirely representative of North Carolina, or even of Orange County. Alas, they may be right. In two hours, my co-worker and I found one man who, having recently moved, needed to re-register. A second man asked when early voting starts, as he expected to be at work on election day, November 8th. The Republican dominated State Legislature has recently cut early voting, but it is still possible to vote early in North Carolina from October 27th to November 5th.
A great many people thanked me for the work I was doing, and one exuberant man planted a kiss on my forehead. Several people volunteered that they were very enthusiastic about voting, and with several folks I held whispered conversations [jokingly] about voting several times.
Now, let me be serious. I was oddly and deeply moved by the experience. Here I was, standing in front of that most American of institutions, the supermarket, on a sunny Saturday morning, encouraging my fellow citizens to vote, chatting with them, exchanging easy banter, clearly welcomed by them. I was glad to be there, tired feet and all. I thought about the men and women who had died for the right to vote, about John Lewis, whose body was beaten and broken by those trying to stop him from voting. I thought about the billions of people in the world who do not have this simple right. And despite the rage that consumes me over voter suppression and racial repression and economic exploitation, on this Saturday morning, I felt good about myself and about the people who passed me on their way to shop for dinner.