Monday, August 8, 2011

Notes from canvassing: Part 2

Two days of canvassing, two days of thoughts on the recall campaign

This is part two of my series on canvassing for the recall elections. You can read part one here. For the past three months I have canvassed against Gov. Walker's proposed budget as well as in favor of a recall candidate involved in one of the six contests taking place tomorrow. The following I wrote during the day on Monday, while near Baraboo.

August 8, 2011
In 24 hours' time, most of the voters that will take part in tomorrow's recall contests will have gone to the polls. It's a bittersweet end to a job I have enjoyed (for the most part) over the past couple of months. I've worked for more than 40 days to ensure that people will spend four minutes or less in their polling booths tomorrow, making a vote for a candidate I believe will make Wisconsin a better place to live in -- or, at the very least, who will stand up to the agenda of Gov. Walker and his legislative allies.

I bear the heat of discussion for this, the last day before the election begins. People are sick and tired of canvassers like me coming to their doors -- but I remind them that they ought to be sick of what Republicans have done to their state. A few grumble, but most of them agree.

These elections represent a lot of things to these constituents. Some have personal gripes with the candidate up for recall himself, some with the issues he supported (or failed to support); but more often than not these elections serve as a way for these people to show Gov. Walker that this state has not accepted his plan, has not accepted his policies, and most of all has not accepted his transformation of this state's values.

Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, win or lose, I know what I did was good work. Not because I necessarily fought for a "just" candidate over one who has neglected to listen to the people; not necessarily because I fought to create a check on a governor hellbent on destroying Wisconsin as we know it; but because I fought for a strengthening of our democracy. These recalls are representative of a direct democratic action, of a power the people deserve to have over their lawmakers in order to ensure their voices are being heard and responded to.

I have walked in support of Democratic candidate Fred Clark; I have walked in opposition to Gov. Walker's egregious budget; but most of all, I have walked to preserve a democratic right of the people of Wisconsin, a right that should never be taken for granted, by constituents or their representatives in Madison. We have walked for the past six months, whether marching around the Capitol or door-to-door. Democracy isn't a spectator sport -- it requires us to take part in it, consistently, not just through the ballot but also through making our presence known to the people who make our laws.

Tomorrow, we shall all take part in this right of the people. We shall play a hand in determining whether they deserve re-election or whether they should be removed due to a loss in confidence from us. Tomorrow, we take Wisconsin back.

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