[Cross-posted from the Young Democrats of Massachusetts blog. Although the post below is directed at Young Dems, I believe the content is relevant to Dems of all ages.]
This past weekend marked the second weekend of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Youth Boots volunteer program. Last weekend, we spent time in Westborough in support of YDM’s endorsed candidate State Senator Jamie Eldridge. This weekend we pulled double duty. Saturday, we were in Pembroke for YDM’s endorsed candidates Josh Cutler, Senate President Therese Murray, and Elizabeth Warren. Sunday afternoon, we were knocking doors in Newton for Joe Kennedy and Elizabeth Warren, both endorsed by YDA this past week.
After the canvass on Saturday I was asked why I was out canvassing in Pembroke. I’m not sure I gave the most eloquent response, but I essentially said something like “If young people want to have a voice, they have to work for the candidates they believe in. The ones who will fight for them in Washington and on Beacon Hill.”
But the question stuck with me. Why? Why do I do it? And why should you join us between now and election day?
I volunteer because I find engaging in the electoral process invigorating. I’ll admit, at times it can be intimidating. There’s a huge unknown lurking behind every door. You have no idea who is going to answer that door or how they will respond. But once you get over that initial fear it’s a wonderful process. You’re talking to voters 1 on 1. For those few moments you spend with a voter you are an ambassador for that candidate(s). The platform is yours and you get to choose how you engage the voter and on what topics you discuss. You can share your personal story and why you support the candidate. These 1 on 1 discussions are exactly the types of persuasion that will win elections in November.
Its not just about victory in November. I believe canvassing and engaging people with differing political views helps to remove the toxic and divisive feel from the political process. At least that’s what it does for me. It helps to humanizes the race. It can be easy to get caught up in the sensational aspects of the news or a well crafted commercial and think well the other side is just full of moonbats or wingnuts. But go door to door and talk with people with opposing view points and you realize (and I hope they realize) that we both want what’s best for our families and our countries.
I also volunteer because I want to be represented by those who support the issues that are important to me and our organization. We need more elected officials who:
- support an economic climate where the majority of Americans can succeed;
- support investments in things like education, research and innovation, and infrastructure;
- will work to increase the availability of affordable housing;
- will work to reduce the cost of higher education and decrease the burden of student debt from those who have already graduated; and
- will be champions for equality and wont rest until every individual in this country has equal opportunities to succeed.
So why should you come join our youth boots effort?
First, I believe YDM’s endorsed candidates are those people I described above. And with only five weekends left between now and election day, there’s not much time left to support their candidacies. I understand it can be tough getting to different parts of the state. But we’re a state-wide organization, and these are important races. We have an opportunity to send Elizabeth Warren to the US Senate, protect our Congressional delegation, pick up seats on Beacon Hill, and support some of our strongest allies who have been their with us on Transgender Equal Rights, Equal Pay for Equal Work, and Election Reform.
I’m not asking you to volunteer with YDM because its fun, though it is. And I’m not asking you to volunteer because it will get you fired up like your favorite episode of West Wing, it will. I’m asking you to volunteer for YDM’s youth boots program because together we can engage more young people in the political process, build a stronger party, and make a difference for people across the Commonwealth and the U.S.
So what do you say? Will you volunteer with us this weekend?