I started off the day at Democratic headquarters making phone calls to remind people to get out and vote. Most of the people I spoke to had voted already. One older gentleman happily told me he had voted for the “Obama-rama ticket!”
As with all phone banking, you get lots of hang-ups and some nasty people. I got called a commie-socialist-Marxist Democrat. Another woman told me it was none of my damn business whether she had voted.
But I soldiered through a couple hundred calls before I took the camera out and shot some photos of volunteers outside the polls.
At the Crossroads Assembly Church, the brother of a candidate was there with his infant daughter. On her stroller was a sign asking people to vote for her uncle, Drew Reisinger, for Register of Deeds.
Outside of the next place I went was the sister of Buncombe County Commission candidate Michelle Pace Wood, handing out voter information. She had an injured foot and was hooked up to a machine that was pumping medication into her. She has breast cancer, but today was too important to stay home.
At the third place I went, an elderly veteran in a wheelchair was handing out Republican slate cards.
It was cold and drizzling, but these people braved it because voting is our most precious right as Americans.
At one polling place, a woman volunteering for the Republicans hollered at almost everyone walking in, “Remember your freedoms!”
I’m sure she meant that the Dems would take those freedoms away, but I hollered, “Indeed! And thanks for exercising your freedom to vote!” She and I looked at each other and smiled.
One young man asked whether the Democratic slate card I handed him contained candidates with Christian values. I told him I thought they all did, considering Christ himself placed a great deal of importance on serving the poor and marginalized.
I spent most of my adult life working in newsrooms, not for candidates or for a party on Election Day. It had its benefits, but I feel like I’m making more of a difference answering people’s questions and helping them make decisions.
This election I can talk about the importance of health reform and social programs that help alleviate poverty. I can talk about the benefits of early childhood education and nutrition programs. I can talk about the morality of the decisions made in Raleigh and in Washington and how those decisions affect everyday Americans.
I can debunk myths instead of repeating them as “the other side of the story.”
I still haven’t decided if I’ll join the Democrats at their post-election party or if I’ll go home and watch TV by myself and relax. I think I’m leaning toward the party, though, because this day seems like a holiday to me.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.