I have to write this, as my heart is kind of full right now.
I spent two & 1/2 hours this evening phonebanking for the Bernie Sanders campaign at one of the local campaign headquarters. The setting was interesting enough in and of itself. It turns out that the national campaign has been renting vacant houses for their volunteers to stay in – and paying the campaign staffers’ travel and living expenses too. This not only gives the campaign volunteers room and board for their trips, it also helps out folk who are trying to rent out vacant houses – local landlords or people who had to move for work and haven’t sold their houses yet. That rent money may well be preventing a forclosure and a black mark on someone’s credit score. It’s certainly good for the local economy.
The volunteers are young folk who have been driving from State to State working for the candidate of their – and our – lifetimes. One young gal was 17 years old, and from Maryland. She is one month and nine days too young to vote in the November general election. So she is doing the only thing she can – volunteering for Bernie’s campaign.
These young folk volunteering for the campaign are filling in the gaps that us older folk can’t get away from work so much to do. There were several people my age and older also there, volunteering to phonebank. I’m 54, by the way.
I have been to two debate watch parties and one “last bash before the Primary” party. The folk FILLING the restaurant where these events were to capacity were of all ages, both sexes, and every race. It was an extremely diverse crowd.
Speaking of volunteering, I have been to phonebanking events organized completely outside the campaign by local non-affiliated volunteers. They’ve been using their own equipment at local coffee shops like Starbucks, local restaurants and the like. The comraderie, good will, and hope are amazing. The energy at these events is like none other; It is so positive and uplifting that you can’t help walking away knowing that the world is a better place than you ever thought it was.
I spent three years as an elected Democratic Precinct Committeeman in Illionis before moving to California. I was volunteer I.T. and web support for the county party organization where I lived. I was directly involved in that office and technical suport for the county party in Obama’s home State during his second run for office. I have NEVER seen volunteerism like what Bernie Sanders campaign is receiving from un-solicited members of the general population. I have never seen a candidate with the honesty and clear-cut Progressive record of one Bernard Sanders in my lifetime.
As to the calls I was making, most of them where I was able to speak to someone were very positive. This, in a heavily-Republican part of California. I got a couple of Hillary supporters who were civil, and one poll worker who was not happy with me, and a lot of voice mail messages.
I left polite messages reminding folk that tomorrow is the California primary, and asking them to come out and vote for Bernie tomorrow. One gal had a full inbox, but her voicemail greeting said it was OK to text her, so I did. I received a text back from her later that evening, thanking me for volunteering for the campaign, and saying that she had already voted for Bernie by mail. I also received a phone call back a little later from another gal I had left a voice message for, with essentially the same message.
In fact, almost every person I reached and actually spoke to in some form had already voted for Bernie by mail. By the way – my wife and I did the same, and when we were pulling up to the big blue mailbox at the post office, so was the gal in the car ahead of us.
One can only hope that the rest of the ones I left messages for had done the same.
When I got home afterward, I found this hanging from my door handle:
Yeah. You can feel the bern in Cali, alright.