I’m not usually awake early on a Sunday, but last week, after dispatching a hearty bowl of cereal and a surprisingly quick trip down 128, I arrived in Wakefield just after 9 a.m. full of energy and ready to knock on some doors.
Our canvassing team met up outside the Wakefield Public Library. We paired up and received our instructions. With my friend Ben Fraimow, I set off to Church Street to start some community conversations. I learned very quickly that canvassing requires perseverance. No one living in the first three houses we knocked was home. Ben and I didn’t pick up steam until the fourth door, where we had an interesting conversation with a new voter from Florida. We talked about the scheduled doubling of student loans, which affects millions of college studentslike me across the nation. Both Elizabeth Warren and John Tierney fought to keep these rates from doubling to make college more affordable; it’s a big reason why I’m supporting them this November.
Canvassing involves speaking with voters whose opinions differ from yours – something that at first seems scary, but in these hyper-partisan times, somehow refreshing.Nothing made this clearer than my conversation with a Scott Brown supporter about government debt. Although I disagreed with him about how to exactly pay down the debt, I told him about a recent independent analysis that found Elizabeth Warren’s deficit-reduction plan would be 67% more effective than Brown’s and we agreed that bipartisan effort was needed in Congress to solve the problem. This is why it’s so important to canvass: Face to face contact is the best way to discuss issues with voters.
When the canvass was over at 12 P.M., although I was tired and ready to go home, I felt like I had accomplished something. After the event, I reflected with other volunteers and at some level, everyone pushed himself or herself in a way they hadn’t before. It wasn’t easy work. But the reality is, fixing our political system will be hard, and it starts talking with ordinary people about issues that matter to them. That’s what canvassing is all about, and it’s why it was such a gratifying experience.