Getting involved is easy and fun, take it from me!
By Tama H. White, OFA Arizona volunteer
Even though I was extremely nervous, my first day canvassing was a rousing success.
One thing, however, is certain — I wouldn’t have even had the confidence to knock doors had I not attended an OFA Campaign Organizing Bootcamp the week before. Through the one-day training in nearby Douglas, Arizona, I learned that volunteering for a local campaign or to support an issue that I care about was easier than I thought and that I could contribute in a meaningful way. All I really needed was to feel prepared — like I knew what I was getting into! And that’s exactly how I felt walking out of the OFA Bootcamp. I was ready to hit the streets and pound some pavement.
So if you’re like me — passionate about progressive values, but maybe still on the fence about getting involved and talking to neighbors — I’m going to share some of my favorite moments from my first time knocking doors because, honestly, it’s easy, it’s fun, and I had a genuinely great experience.
The people I wound up meeting while canvassing for Ann Kirkpatrick — the Democratic House candidate in Arizona’s 2nd congressional district — undoubtedly made my experience. Not everyone answered their door, but those I spoke with — on both sides of the political spectrum — were friendly, welcoming, and open to having a conversation with me. In fact, on my very first stop, I ended up holding a woman’s adorable chihuahua while she filled out her request form for a mail-in ballot!
I even had several in-depth conversations with Republicans who are dismayed by the current political situation. We discussed the need for checks and balances and the need to reaffirm democratic norms, no matter how we feel about a particular party’s stances or candidates.
The very last person I spoke with was an 18-year-old young woman whose mother was at work. She said she was already registered to vote, but that she was still researching the candidates and issues. She felt strongly about the fact that if our government paid more attention on the basic needs for its citizens, we could strengthen our economy, our democracy, and the health of our citizens.
Standing on her porch, we spoke for about ten minutes. This young woman was just so inspiring to talk to — she was as informed as any expert I have seen speaking on television. When I suggested she should run for office, she told me she was still in school. But, maybe, we decided, she could practice by running for class president.
This was the highlight of my canvassing experience. I told the young woman how heartened I was by our conversation and how impressive it was see so many young adults in her generation so politically engaged. When I got back to the campaign office, I pointed out this young woman’s name to Anna, the organizer who set me up with all my volunteering materials for the day. I told her that this young woman had a bright future ahead of her and would be a great candidate for a local community leadership program.
Overall, I was just so impressed with the openness of the people I encountered while going door-to-door. Had I known how easy, fun, and inspiring it would turn out to be — I would’ve started months ago! So if you care about the future of our democracy and feel like doing something about the current state of affairs, I would absolutely — 100 percent — recommend canvassing to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet.
I have no doubt that you will come away with a reinvigorated respect for the American people.