It's old news that I lean left. Not too far left but I definitely list. I am a reliable Democrat even though I get raving mad at their incompetency. But now, the nativists, supremacists, racists - whatever moniker you want to give them - along with misogynists, the gun lobby, pandering politicians, and hyper-partisan judges are mixing in a toxic cauldron right before my eyes.
I never, ever thought of myself as a knocking-on-door kind of activist, but here I am being just that.
The point of visiting our neighbors is to ensure that registered Democrats are going to vote in November. Even though the lack of a coherent message on the economy from that side is leaving me thirsty, there is work to be done. We are two friendly women with flyers and a folder in hand. We knock and then stand far from the door, non-threatening as can be. We begin with a friendly "Hi there! We are..." In return we get invigorating and unnerving reactions. Many of us didn't take our civic responsibility seriously in the last election. It's easy to think I don't like my options, or I don't make a difference, or my vote will simply cancel so-and-so's vote. The point is every vote matters.
I genuinely look forward to our door-knocking encounters. Some residents are very friendly. They patiently listen to us, take our flyer, and tell us they cannot wait to vote. Others open the door a crack and then abruptly shut it with a "Not interested!". Homes we think are owned by Democrats sometimes turn out to be in Republican hands or the blue kids have moved away leaving behind red parents. Catching them off-guard gives us kicks. One lady - a staunch liberal - had recently passed and it was so sad to speak to her very subdued husband. And another person asked if we had a job for her son. One dude came to the door with his robe that he kept in place with his right hand and held the door with his left. We didn't offer him a flyer and he didn't ask for one, for fear of how he would multi-task effectively! There are homes with unkempt lawns and front doors that seem to be unused and I secretly hope that our rings go unanswered.
What generally matters to us - the ones knocking and responding - is a spirit that we can make a difference. 2016 was a classic example of the results of disinterest. Even if you don't like the candidate, the worst thing you can do is stay home. Pick the lesser of the bad choices if you have to, but do pick. By abstaining, you unleash unknown forces and unexpected consequences.
Please, let's do our part. Spread the word, make sure friends and family know about the candidates. If your kids have moved away, remind them to register to vote in their new locality. Absentee ballots are a great option, if you think you will be out of town on election day. Request a ballot online and then send it by snail mail. It literally took me less than five minutes to request one.
Here are the links you may need. And remember that the last date to send in your ballot will be later this month, well before election day. Don't wait if you are going to go this route.
In Virginia: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation
In Maryland: https://elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.html