Monday, November 3, 2014

My Walk-On Role With The Ground Game

The list that was my part of "the ground game" yesterday.  Photo by J. Berta

 Greetings All:

Tomorrow is election day.  If you're a Republican, likely you're feeling pretty good.  (Me, well, not so much.)  I haven't gotten into politics a whole lot in this blog for several reasons.  However, I'll make an exception here as tomorrow is simply too big a day to ignore.  

Before I get into the main topic, I want to say one thing about politics.  It's broken.  The amount of money in it is obscene and both sides are equally to blame.  If I ever run myself, one issue that will be a priority for me will be to amend the U.S. Constitution to empower our legislative and executive branches to limit campaign contributions.  Perhaps I'll elaborate on this point more down the road.  For now, let me say this:  There's way too much anger out there and the "open tap of cash" is NOT helping.  

One of the reasons I feel strongly about this is the fact I consider myself fortunate to have many friends and colleagues who are more conservative that I am.  I value their friendship.  From sharing a meal in a less than hospitable place to tailgating before an Iowa game, I've gotten to know them as people.  Not as a Republican/Conservative/Libertarian but as a person.  They love this country as much as I do and many have done a ton more to defend it than I ever will.  With all the money in politics and the toxic ads poured into the ground water of our political system, no wonder we're all getting sick.  The practical danger is we stop connecting as people and simply reduce the debate to sound bites.  Not good folks, not good.

I'm a fan of Mark Twain and particularly certain quotes.  One of my favorites is:  "Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."  That's another way of saying:  "If you don't like something, either figure out a solution or (in the gentle words of a certain East coast governor) 'sit down and shut up.'"

So I decided last week I would do something I have not done in a l-o-n-g time.  I knocked on doors for the Iowa Democratic Party.

The sign on the door to the Steelworkers' Hall where I picked up my packet.  Photo by J. Berta.

Door knocking or "canvassing" is a traditional political activity.  At this point in the campaign, the focus is getting "the base" out to vote.  Thanks to the ability to data-mine information, it's pretty easy to figure out who is most likely to back your candidate and vote this election.  I like to think the race for the U.S. Senate in Iowa is closer than The Des Moines Register's poll released Saturday night.  (Oh, please, please let all those calls to have been only to landlines.)  Therefore, turnout could decide the election.

In politics, "the ground game" is often a reference to getting voters out to the polls.  This is one aspect of politics that cannot be done from a lobbying/consulting firm in DC.  You have to do in face-to-face.  There is no app to download, no "page" to "like."  You have to literally put people on the pavement.  It reminds me of the line from Full Metal Jacket when Animal Mother says to Joker:  "You talk the talk.  Do you walk the walk?"

At this point in the campaign, you gotta walk the walk if you want to win.  Here's a Fox News story that tells what was going on in Iowa a couple of weeks' ago:

On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I walked around neighborhoods in my town, knocking on various doors.  Most people were not home.  In a few cases, I suspected they were and "declined" to answer the door.  Perhaps door-knocking during the undisputed best half of Iowa football this season was not the best course of action.  

In a few cases, I got the, "...if this is political, I'm not interested."  Fair enough, election fatigue is as apparent as bags of raked leaves by the curb.  No one was rude to me and a couple even seemed appreciate to see someone engaging in politics without a TV ad.

My "boots on the ground" this weekend.  Photo by J. Berta
I don't know how this election will turn out.  Regardless of the outcome, I am glad to got out and added my "boots on the ground" for a few hours.  I know across this city, state and nation others are doing the same thing.  I want to give a shout out to those who are supporting their cause knowing in their heart they ain't gonna win.  To the Republican knocking doors in New York to the Democrat in Alabama, here's to you.  Your commitment to your cause is admirable and if you get one, just one person to vote who otherwise would have stayed home, you're a winner.  Here's to your role in the ground game this year.  You're truly the All-Americans.  I was just a walk-on.

Be well my friends (and PLEASE VOTE TOMORROW!),

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