Monday, July 24, 2006

Walking the Blocks for Nick Lampson

Who in their right mind will voluntarily go block walking through southeast Texas neighborhoods for 3 hours on Saturdays during July? Answer: Nick Lampson campaign volunteers. The majority of them are young and thin with seemingly endless energy. Then there’s Pat and I. We are somewhat older. The both of us can recall where we were when Kennedy was shot (no, Ted Kennedy is still alive, I’m talking about older brother Jack).

Pat and I walk the blocks for Nick Lampson because we want our candidate to win no matter who he is running against. Right now we say that he is running against Tom DeLay and Bob Smither because it happens to be the truth.

We go armed with printouts from the Texas VAN system that you may have read about on other CD-22 blogs. It’s quite remarkable. Filtered out are probable Republican “die hards” so we don’t waste our time and breath. So we have high-graded lists of names and addresses, all organized in ascending address order, odd addresses on one sheet, evens on another. Very handy.

I have to say, we have not had one negative encounter to-date. Well . . . one. But it was the mother of a 20 year old young man still living at home (he was still asleep at 11:30). Her name wasn’t on our list but Zach is apparently not in agreement with his mom’s political choices. Happens. What we are encountering, for the most part, is something along the range of moderately to enthusiastically receptive. And this is occurring in upscale newer neighborhoods, places where you’d think Tom would have his base. Muse discussed this, and it’s absolutely true. If I were asked to describe who “Nick’s people” are, I would be hard-pressed. Nick’s following is hugely diverse: southern and eastern Asian, Hispanics, African Americans, White folks, young, middle-aged and elderly. It really is a broad spectrum. One elderly south Asian man was particularly impressed with Nick as he came to speak at his mosque on a previous Friday. Sometimes, all we have to say is that Nick is running against Tom DeLay, and that elicits a broad smile and a “Nick has my vote”.

When we’re not talking to the people, we talk to each other about our children, our pets, places we have lived and visited. Sometimes we even talk about politics. We survive 3 hours in the hot sun by taking a break midway through, taking refuge in an air-conditioned fast food restaurant drinking iced drinks. We get a few stares because of our campaign T-shirts and our “flair”. And they look twice at me and wonder what pool I fell into.

Some would say that we are doing this a little early, that people aren’t really ready to think about the November elections, and there is something to that. I answer to that this way: if we can identify the true fence sitters, and the true GOP hardliners who somehow made it on our list, we will have a very high quality list of voters by the time the good weather returns, when Nick’s campaign will have block walkers coming out of the woodwork.

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