Monday, November 01, 2004

I expected it to be a circus. With hundreds of thousands of volunteers canvassing the streets of America, candidates visiting six states a day and legions upon legions mobilized into this election, I expected nothing less than a zoo.
In Nashua New Hampshire, I found quiet. Quiet. Hours of taking a huge sprawling suburban neighborhood between my feet (with Nathan as my partner in voterocking crime), knocking on doors of silent houses, moving slowly and quietly I felt akin to the flamelike turning trees that flanked the houses. Moving slightly and silently but nonetheless a living part of this blazing autumnal fire.
At Nathan's urging, we decided to depart from our list and start talking to people who weren't on our list of progressive voters. This was by far the most rewarding part of our experience. We found a woman who had just moved to the area, and got her directions to her polling station and instructions on how to register on the spot tomorrow.

We also spoke to a woman who displayed Kerry-Edwards banners and also several versions of a very particular flag, with red stripes on each side and a black or blue star in the middle. After we talked a little bit about where and how she could vote, I asked about the flag, and she explained that her husband is in Iraq, and the flag will remain until he returns. I told her, May he return safely. I wish I had said more. I wish I had said thank you.

Later in the afternoon, we startled a mother playing with her one-year-old child in their driveway. Our neighborhood is so quiet, and nobody usually comes through here, she told us. You two really scared me. As it turns out, her husband is Brazilian and just became a US citizen--she was very excited to learn that he would be able to register to vote for the first time tomorrow, and that she would be able to vote with her husband.

So after some 4 hours of driving and 5 hours of walking around a sleepy New Hampshire neighborhood, Nathan and I managed to help bring 4 voters to the polls tomorrow. How so completely, entirely, worth it. What a sanctification of the individual, to travel so far and long to find their door and tell them that their voice is sacred, and needs to be heard.


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