For those who don’t sit on the sidelines

Tomorrow morning, hundreds of people will meet in parking lots all across Northern Virginia. They’ll pick up a clip board and some literature. Then they’ll hit the streets for several hours of knocking on doors and talking face-to-face with voters.

Here in Mount Vernon, super volunteers like Laura Sonnenmark, Scott Surovell, and Doug Reimel will organize the canvass. They’ll hand out the maps, the literature, and the voter lists. Then they’ll grab their own clip board and start walking.

Those of us with a Certificate of Election on our walls do the work because it’s part of our job. Yet weekend after weekend, we are joined by dedicated volunteers who lace up their sneakers and walk with us.

What brings them out? It’s not the Krispy Kreme donuts or the coffee. And it’s not because door knocking is so much fun. As a candidate, I have knocked on tens of thousands of doors, and I can assure you that door knocking is hard work. People yell at you. They slam their door in your face. And their dogs …

No, the volunteers do it because they believe in the process. They know that democracy is not a spectator sport—and they’re not going to sit on the sidelines.

The Republican voter turnout operation gets a lot of well-deserved praise. Their “secret?” A neighbor at your door is always more persuasive than anyone from outside the district.

It’s a lesson Democrats temporarily forgot. But, thanks to people like Laura, Scott, and Doug, we’re back to basics again.

So here’s to the volunteers—on both sides of the aisle—who make democracy work. Thanks.

7 thoughts on “For those who don’t sit on the sidelines”

  1. So true, Kris! Thank goodness for dedicated volunteers, for the enduring value of good old fashioned voter contact, and for talented coordinators – Doug, Scott, Laura, and up here in Alexandria tomorrow Jill and Brian, Dan, and Lindsey, and countless more – who make it all happen!

  2. We canvassed for The Jims in Arlington last Saturday. Great weather,great turnout of volunteers. Hope you have the same results tomorrow in Mount Vernon.

  3. Thanks Kris, I don’t feel that I deserve such high praise. But your point is smack-on. There are (fortunately) hundreds like me (and many even more dedicated than I am!) all over the area who are working hard for our elections, every cycle. You are right–we believe in the process, but we also believe and trust in the consicience of those for whom we work. We believe that, despite a 100% consensus on every issue, the people we work to elect view the totality of the messages being sent in our legisalture, and work to bring good government and its benefits to all citizens. Then there are the personal issues such as the one we face this year in the awful amendment to our venerated Bill of Rights. Things like that can really hurt in one’s psyche, and are even MORE motivation to make a difference.

    I wish civic and political involvement would be a higher priority for more citizens. We truly all benefit from government (schools, roads, national defense, social welfare), and we all ought to participate.

    Oh yeah, and I still believe Election Day should ALWAYS be a national holiday. I wonder if we’ll ever see that?

  4. Kris, thanks very much for your kind words, but I do have to take exception with one comment you made…

    We have had no experience this year of people yelling or slamming doors in our faces. People have been uniformly polite–even the ones who identify themselves as “staunch Republicans.” There is a lot of interest and curiosity about Jim Webb out there; I guess because he’s such an unconventional candidate. But we haven’t encountered any overt hostility–not even in Westgate, Allen’s home precinct. The results have actually been very encouraging and interesting. We’re all having a lot of fun.

    As for the walking, it’s good exercise. And the weather is fantastic, the camraderie equally so. I strongly urge everyone to lace up their sneakers (or their boots!) and come join us.

    On to Victory!

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