Monday, October 15, 2012

Calls on Calls on Calls

Man, oh man. Why do I feel like I've been on the phone for three hours? Oh wait, it's because I HAVE been on the phone for three hours. Just doing my job and trying to get the word out.

Today's experience was slightly less intimidating, but only slightly. The blitz calling I've done in the past was generally to people who were excited to hear from me (i.e. students who are currently applying to Anderson and I call to remind them what we need to process their applications). Today was different.

Using a website called I literally called hundred of people tonight. The Democratic party has paid for the use of HubDialer in Indiana because the race between Joe Donnelly and Richard Murdock is so close. It's a really nifty program that sifts through a bunch (I'm not sure how many) of phone numbers at once and sorts out all the lines that are busy or aren't being answered, and then people like me are suddenly connected with a voter on the other end of the line. And that's when the magic happens.

Each conversation went a little something like this:
        Me: Hi, is Diona available?
        Voter: Yes, this is she.
        Me: Hi, Diona. My name is Mackenzie and I'm a volunteer with the Indiana Democratic Party. How             are you this evening?
       Voter: (Varied answers, usually along the lines of "I'm fine," or "I'm old.")
      Me: Well great, I'm just calling to find out if you're planning to support Joe Donnelly in the race for the US Senate seat and John Gregg as Indiana's next Governor?

The responses that I got to that question were basically the same as the ones that I got when I went canvassing yesterday. Except for the fact that people are much bolder when they don't have to look you in the eye. I had a couple people tell me that I was making a mistake in volunteering for the Democratic party and that I should scrap the list I was using because it obviously wasn't accurate if they were getting a phone call.

While this response isn't all that surprising to me, it does bother me. One of the many reasons that I want to be involved in politics is because I'm tired of this partisan animosity. It would be wonderful if people were even willing to talk to each other! I'm not saying you have to agree on ideology, just agree to a conversation! More upsetting than people who were so set in their ways that they hung up on me after hearing the word "Democrat," were the people who listened to what I had to say but told me they didn't care or didn't know. It's heartbreaking to me that we live in a country where we are given the right to actively participate and so many people choose not to.

What am I taking away from today's calling experience? I will never hang up on a political volunteer again, I am so sure that my goal is to inform people about politics, and lastly, you can't take life to seriously.

Here are my two favorite conversations from tonight:

When calling an elderly woman she responded, "I'm sorry, what credit card are you calling about?" "No ma'am, I'm with the Democratic Party." "......what kind of party? I don't like parties much. *click"

When calling a middle aged woman, "Oh, I can't vote because I'm on probation." 

1 comment:

  1. Your favorite conversations are, unfortunately, not isolated incidents. Similar statements from citizens are recorded in "The American Voter" (Campbell, Converse, Miller, and Stokes 1960) and "The American Voter Revisited (Lewis-Beck, Jacoby, Norpoth, and Weisberg 2008). In both, refer to the discussion of levels of conceptualization in chapter 10.