Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tales from the Trail Days 3 and 4

If you were looking for a recap of the debates yesterday, here you go-
Never have I ever been more livid and angry at a GOP candidate than when Newt Gingrich had the audacity to say that he thinks the unemployed 99ers aren't suffering from a lack of jobs, but are suffering from poor skills and need more education. I have been unemployed for the better part of the past 2 years. I fall into the 99ers category. I have sent out hundreds and hundreds of resumes. I have interviewed at dozens of companies. I have been fortunate to get enough freelance work to survive these past two years, in spite of how very precious little I got on unemployment. I have great skills. I have companies I used to work for coming to me and asking me to help them. They don't have the money to hire me! The completely out of touch and ridiculous statement that 99ers need to get more education and better skills, and less assistance, made by Gingrich had me screaming at the television (and on Twitter). And explain to me, exactly how is someone who hasn't had an income in 2 years supposed to afford more education?? The problem is the economy. NOT the overqualified, skilled citizens who were laid off!
As for life on the campaign trail-
I have worked on a few campaigns. I'm no stranger to politics. I have never seen a better run campaign than the Romney campaign. It is truly incredible to see how well organized and executed this high speed campaign runs. There is a staff member dedicated to getting endorsements across the state. There are regional press secretaries, precinct captains, advance teams, and more. We're not sitting in the office stuffing envelopes. The phones ring off the hook, literally over one hundred calls an hour, if not more. (I bet you the other campaigns don't have that problem!) No two days have been the same so far. And I doubt any two days will repeat in the future. Today I assumed a role of mostly overseeing the other volunteers, keeping them busy with projects, while trying to keep up with my own projects as well. We were in the office for more than 14 hours today! It is great to be so busy that you don't even look up and realize you missed lunch until after 4 pm!
We have over 300 volunteers we're assigning out over the state this weekend, and we're doing the prep work for that now. (I came down in advance to help prep.) I've never been on a campaign before where we had so many volunteers just coming out of the woodwork to help out. It really is energizing and exciting to be on a winning campaign.
As you know, I'm from Virginia and I traveled to South Carolina to help. I am not alone in this! Today in our office we had 8 different volunteers who had driven or flown in from other states to help out full time for the week. Can you imagine being so passionate that you would get in your car and drive from Texas (his home) to Iowa, to New Hampshire, to South Carolina, and he plans to go on to Florida next week? We have a volunteer who is doing just that. And no, he's not rich or wealthy with time to kill. It is the opposite actually! Like me, he's unemployed and wants to make a difference with his free time. He was sleeping in his car, showering at the Y, and working some very long days! (When we heard he was sleeping in his car, we found him another volunteer to share a hotel room with. I think he's enjoying having a full sized bed again.) And he does it all because he believes in the cause.
We have so many great volunteers making things work for us right now. We had a great woman come in for several hours today, and with her she brought homemade coffee cake that was the best I have ever had. She brought in juice, clementines, milk, and more. And at lunch time she took orders and went to the (gay bar) cafe across the street to get food for us. I mentioned Ruth yesterday- the woman that Governor Romney gave some money to at an event. She has been coming to the office to keep us updated and to volunteer. Today we told her we had seen her story in the news. She asked which paper. I told her I didn't see the paper, I saw it on CNN, ABC, and Fox. She said, "Fox who?" She doesn't have a TV or internet at her home, and had no idea she had been a story in every single major news outlet. Well, she did have some clue, because she told me her phone was ringing so much she finally took it off the hook. She couldn't take it anymore, so she came to our office to help out. And would you believe the woman making national news stories picked up a bottle of windex and cleaned all of our windows, before she swept the floors, and cleaned the toilet? When she saw the coffee cake and treats in our little kitchen, she loudly yelled, "Oh Praise Jesus! I haven't eaten!" She didn't have any money, and has no food. We happily sent her home with a few items. And she said she'll be back to help tomorrow. I look forward to putting her to work on something a little more exciting than sweeping the floors.

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