Canvassing in Montrose, Colorado
What a weekend! I was connnected with a group travelling from Salt Lake to Colorado Friday afternoon, and they picked me up close to home early that evening. We didn't end up going to Grand Junction- they had enough people there, so we went to Montrose, which is about 65 miles south of there. The terrain really reminded me of Price in east-central Utah, where we lived for six years. However, unlike Price, this is traditionally strong Republican territory.
From the headquarters in Montrose, we went to the Gibson's home- a brave family who opened their home to seven Utah volunteers. Despite our late arrival (after midnight), we were up and at the headquarters by 9:30 Saturday morning.
I wish I had pictures from Saturday, when Alex and Justin taught us how to be an effective voice for Sen. Obama. The room was filled with 30-35 volunteers, and about 2/3 of them were from Utah. We were students from the U, young professionals, and baby boomers like me. We were white, black, brown. It confirmed everything I'd read about the ground organization the Obama campaign has built over the past two years.
The group was smaller on Sunday morning, but no less determined. Here's Alex (or Justin, they are brothers who look a lot alike!) giving us our marching orders. We'd just finished watching the video of Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama- a powerful statement that was everything politics should be about. It had meat, it was positive, and by the end I was close to tears.
Here's more of the group. I'm in between Jeff and Dave, two of the people I rode up with. Jenn, the fourth person in our car, is sitting to Dave's left. We had a ball, but that will have to wait for another post. Sorry this picture is a little fuzzy.
They had all kinds of posters around the office. I especially loved this one- which anyone who has lived in the west will understand. It references McCain's stated wish to renegotiate the Colorado River pact, which governs how much water each of the states can take from the river. Andre was kind enough to agree to my request to stand next to the poster.
These were on a bulletin board in the office. I LOVE the Old White Women for Obama- I think I'm going to try to find a way to have this on a tee shirt.
I walked more those two days than I have walked in ages. I'm calling it the Obama weight loss program! I spoke with lots of people. Yes, I encountered my share of McCain supporters, most polite people and some friendly despite our differences. Not one door slammed in my face, and I was only told to "take a hike" once.
On the other hand, I met people who were eager to talk about Sen. Obama and his positions, who were hungry to know more. I was able to talk about why I was supporting him, even that I'd given up a weekend to travel to Colorado to volunteer. One gentleman honked at me and gave me thumbs-up while I was walking, then turned his car around to talk with me and ask if I needed a soda. He helped me out with some directions, and thanked me for helping in his state. It was awesome!
And we went to homes of people that were frankly shocked to see a volunteer, because they lived so far out of town. No, we didn't walk it- when we had done our walkable parts, Dave, Jeff, Jenn and I piled into Dave's car and drove to houses that were out there- small ranches, and the kinds of rural "neighborhoods" I'm familiar with from my time in Price. We canvassed in trailer parks, older neighborhoods, and brand new subdivisions. We met turkeys, chickens, more dogs than I could count, horses, goats. But the best was captured by Dave and Jeff- the Obama Llama!!
We worked full days both Saturday and Sunday- we turned in our last packet about 7:30 Sunday night, then headed home. But I can't finish this post without a picture of our hosts, the Gibson's. They were wonderful hosts, friendly, welcoming, and fun to be with. Here's Cheryl and Gordon, and their daughter Katie, who's also a volunteer for Obama ad a teacher at a local charter school. I really enjoyed getting to know all three of them.
I'll have more to post, but I have to say that this was just an incredible experience. I've always been a responsible citizen- I've voted in every election sinc 1972, and tried to educate myself about the issues. But no candidate has ever inspired me the way Sen. Obama has. I've donated to his campaign multiple times- another first for me. And now I've canvassed, another first! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks??