best political sign ever

H/T to Wonkette for pointing out this excellent sign. I think of him as a cotton wearer, personally.

Earlier today, I was canvassing in my favorite battleground state when a 92-year-old woman told me, “I’m not voting for Obama.” When I asked her what issues were important to her in this election year, she said, “I’m worried that if he gets in, we’ll have trouble from the blacks.”

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I talked to her a little bit about my kids, and how a major concern to me in this election was how we would ever get out of the war in Iraq, so that the war’s still not going on when my 5-year-old grew up, and that if my kids did manage to grow up in a war-free society, that there will still be a health care system left for them to enjoy. Then I blew her off.

I’m sure that woman would have talked to me, a nice middle-aged white woman at her door on a Saturday morning, for as long as I was willing to spend with her. I’m equally sure that if one of my black co-workers, who are just as middle-aged and nice, had come to her door, that she wouldn’t even have opened it.

But I don’t have time to spend moving a woman who’s been alive for twice as long as I have, off of her racist bullshit. I have to spend time finding people who will at least be coded in their racism. In the political organizing trade, we have a term for someone who will tell a total stranger, on first meeting them, that they won’t vote for someone because of the color of their skin (or their gender, or their religion, or their sexual orientation, or any other damn thing that has nothing to do with whether or not they’re qualified for the job).

We call them a 5.

And what do we know about 5s?

They are not persuadable voters. We don’t spend time with voters who are not persuadable, on either end of the spectrum. We don’t, because our business is to persuade people, not to beat our heads against a wall talking to people whose minds we will never change. (It’s also not our job to spend time chatting with our most fervent supporters about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and how smart we are for making the right choice, but it’s very tempting to do so.)

Our job is to find the undecided voter, and to persuade her.

It’s hard, when you are knocking on doors, to just walk away. The nature of anyone who is gregarious enough to do this work, is to engage, to connect, to interact with the person who’s opened their door to you. But sometimes, it’s just a big fat waste of time.


September 13, 2008. '08 election. Leave a comment.