The energy is different in Philly than NYC. It's more active and erratic. It feels like a lot of unexpected things could happen. I think there's more people who are on something in and around the train station and the neighborhood where we canvassed.
This is the first time I've been in Philly without a car and someone who knew how to get around. You have to dig to get info on where to go here. I lost an extra hour so I only knocked on doors for a couple of hours. Based on that experience, everyone we met plans to vote for Obama or they said they “weren't allowed to say” who they were voting for. My trainer who has been canvassing for a couple of weeks didn't know what to make of it. Some people were suspicious. I think it is a cultural thing depending on what was happening in some native countries.
Most of the people were nice once they knew we were looking to register people. That we were looking out for them. Poverty is not good. A guy named Marcus told me he was out stealing water so he could detail cars at $20 a pop. He tried to do 5 a day. There were a lot of houses where there was nobody home and it was a little freaky. I guess there was some suspicion we were seeing who was legal. Or if they were dealing. Once house had one of those lipstick cameras pointing down at the front door.
There were more kids at home by themselves. Some would yell out their windows at us that no one was at certain houses. Junior neighborhood watch program. We registered 3 people. Most were resolute about Obama. One guy didn't know his Social Security number. That makes me angry. People should not slip through the cracks. One man was missing lots of teeth and a lot of crackers were flying from his mouth as he told me the woman on our list was in the hospital. It was really hard to understand him.
Next time I'm going to wear more Obama stuff so I'm more visibly for him and my purpose is clear at 20 yards. It will save time and lessen the need to disarm people when we first meet.
Also there was many requests for buttons. I would have given mine but then 4 other people asked so we had folded posters to hand out. I understand you have to buy the buttons but its like working with kids I've worked with in the Bronx. Candy and prizes are expected. Next time I'll be loaded with buttons, bite size candy bars, and cigarettes. If it will get them to stop and talk with me I'm all for the gateway drugs to a better democracy and economy and place in the world.
Today reaffirmed my suspicion that our national identity has low self-esteem. After years of bullying defense mechanism posturing, it only makes sense we would.
Andrea and the people at PA for Change were awesome.