Yesterday I made calls for the Obama campaign to people in swing states, at a little gathering at Tara’s house. The Obama site makes it surprisingly simple to get a list of complete strangers’ phone numbers — plus they supply you with a script: Hello, is BLANK available? This is BLANK, I’m calling from Barack Obama’s Campaign for Change. Depending on the call list, my task was either to convince people to vote Obama or to vote early. Calling strangers has the same liberating air to it that walking around naked at the spa does; you won’t see these people again, and though a phone call can be totally intimate, this one’s just anonymous business. Most were wrong numbers, or answering machines. We were supposed to only reach undecided voters, but one fellow in Indiana was definitely already decided:
–Ma’am. I don’t vote for socialists.
–Uh… He’s not a socialist. He’s… you know, a Democrat.
–No ma’am, he’s a socialist. Have you read the Communist manifesto?
–Well. He wants to redistribute the wealth of this country. That’s socialism. Now you get your facts straight.
I started explaining Obama’s tax plan and got endlessly mired in frustration, because the dude was positive that whatever I said meant the Commies were on the loose. I ended with something like, “Ok then, have a great day” and hung up. I’m not sure my calls were all that productive.