And so now I'm going to list ten really incredible things about getting so politically involved in the past year. I know it's not over for me. I know I'm not going to shut up about politics like I threatened to last night (you all knew it too, I'm not the type!). But an era has ended and here is its eulogy. The Ten Good Things About The Marriage Amendment (or, the fight to overturn it, anyway).
1) Our awesome HRC intern told us that she was at a protest one time where she saw an activist carrying a sign that just said, "JESUS WOULD SLAP THE SHIT OUT OF YOU." She said it was one of the more wrong things she'd seen, especially since it was on our side, but thinking back it's funny as hell and it's a line that works fabulously in so many situations. Turns out she's right! Even though I know Jesus would not slap the shit out of anybody, the phrase is so wonderful after a long conversation with an angry biggot that I'll never let it go. I'd just hang up the phone and think about what would have happened had I said it to the person, and I'd be laughing again.
2) Two albums I'll never forget, or associate with any other time in my life: Green Day's American Idiot and Le Tigre's This Island. They still would have been good albums had I just been a normal engineer, but The Cause made them much, much closer to home.
3) Not being here in my quiet apartment to miss my beloved little agamemnon. Aggy lived a good long life but his death was devastating to me, I have never lost a pet I loved so much. If I didn't have so much work to pour myself into my world would have been a much darker place.
4) The gorgeous weather for canvassing. It was spring, the trees were blooming, and I was walking outside for hours and hours. It was good exercise and fresh air for a girl who works in an office.
5) I know so much more about politics and the legal system now... about lobbyists, the difference between a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), call scripting, the whole works. I also got to learn about this cause inside and out, along with nifty tidbits about progressive movements of the past. I really feel like I can talk about the issue; I'm educated.
6) I hold the record for phonebanking the dead. Yes, I do. The second call I made on my FIRST night of phonebanking was to this to a dead woman... I asked for her name and her husband said, "I'm sorry, she passed away two months ago." I had no idea what to say. Afterwards, I got one about every other day... I was the Phonebanking Angel of Death. Most other people in our group never got a dead person's name on their list; it was my special talent. And somehow, every time, I managed to be sensitive about the situation, even though deep down inside I was thinking, "Well she's still registered to vote! Send me her absentee ballot, this'll work great!"
7) Last night after our election party, one of our board members told me good-bye, gave me a huge hug, and said he loved me. I'm sure he was serious. I got to work with the most incredible group of people on this... we yelled at one another, made fun of ourselves, whined, bitched, complained, got mad, and got our jobs done. We all got along. We all love each other. I've bonded with them like I haven't bonded with anybody else in Wichita.
8) After all the canvassing and phonebanking, our group has the city of Wichita pretty well mapped out. I canvassed one street with pretty decent houses, and something like five doors in a row lead to people who were strongly on our side. I turned to my canvas partner and said, "I'm moving onto this street." One of the doors was answered by a woman holding a newborn baby in a sling, who told us, "I'm voting so people can marry whoever the hell they damn well please." fuck yeah. So basically, when I do buy a house, I'll know where to go now!
9) We won in 15 of the precincts we targetted. These were precincts we identified with voter database profiles, then set to it with phone calls, lit drops, the works. The worst precinct on our list was still 42% for us. There's no way the numbers would have gone that way if it hadn't been for us. They would have been 70/30 like the rest of Kansas. I know, just from talking to people, that it made a difference. Not everyone was going to vote. Not everyone knew about the issue. We made ourselves heard. We may not have had the time, people, or money to target everywhere, but where we did go, turnout was huge.
10) Seeing those students after the Diversity Speaks concert holding up signs even though the rally and everything was over. Sometimes, the flags just won't go down, even if it's time. Sometimes you've just gotta stand on the corner and yell at cars because it's what you've got to do.
Sometimes it doesn't matter how cold it's gotten or little light there is, you still have something to say.
They'll never take any of that away from us.