Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Obama Volunteer Work

The longest and most strenuous (but also most enjoyable) day of my Iowa trip was definitely the day that I spent volunteering for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. The other Obama supporters on the trip and I all arrived at the campaign headquarters around 9:00 that morning. Soon after our arrival, we were given clipboards with maps and a list of potential (and verified) Obama supporters and we went off to a residential area of Ames to knock on doors and leave literature about the caucuses. Since we were walking around on a Wednesday morning, many people were at work, so I ended up leaving a lot of door hangers. After several hours of canvassing, we returned to the Obama headquarters. Everybody else left to see Bill Clinton speak in Des Moines, but I stayed at the office to help more. Over the next nine hours, I made over three hundred phone calls to potential and verified Obama supporters, reminding them of their caucus location, answering any questions they may have had about Senator Obama or the caucuses, and occasionally getting hung up on, sworn at, or told that they had changed their political affiliation- including one person who had supported Obama, but now favors Ron Paul.

For me, volunteering for Senator Obama’s campaign was a really valuable experience, and I would definitely like to do campaign work in the future, either paid or volunteer. It enabled me to see how a campaign works on the inside, and also gave me insight into and respect for all of the work and personpower that go into retail politics as they're practiced in Iowa. Although I don't want to run for public office, nor would I want to do something as big as manage an entire campaign, I definitely hope that campaign work can be a part of my life for quite some time.

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