For me, this election was about dedication to a cause, and hard work. And the incredible movement we can create when work together toward one unified goal.
I came to Cleveland to do political work through my union. I live out in the suburb of Solon, a small town where we have about 8,000 families. So, coming to Cleveland--to the big city with population almost 400,000--is quite an experience for me. It took some getting used to. First of all, I had no idea how to get around the city and I couldn't get anywhere from the union office, but somehow I had to get out to where we were canvassing in the neighborhoods. After much trial and error, I figured out the main streets and took things from there. I knew I had to, because this election is vital and I couldn't let that hold me back. Ohio always has a lot of importance in the race for president and I want to make sure that we deliver Ohio for Obama again this year.
For the first week or so I was somewhat intimidated about going to the doors and having conversations with people about this election. I think it was by the end of the second week I finally got my groove. Going to the doors no longer bothered me. I feel like this whole experience has been an eye opener and has been very positive.
A week back, I knocked on a door and young woman came to the door. I asked her if she was informed about the upcoming election and she answered "what's that guy's name?" We started talking to her about Romney and what would happen if Romney would win. She said "Who's that?" I realized that she not only didn't know who Mitt Romney is but she didn't know who President Obama is! I was shocked that she could live in the United States of America and not know who our president is. I had to back up and talk to her about the basics of who the President is and what he's been fighting for and why we need to re-elect him. By the end of the conversation, she had registered to vote, got an absentee ballot so she could vote early and she signed a pledge card to vote for Obama. Her boyfriend came home while we were talking and I signed him up, too!
I felt so good that I helped somebody who really didn't know anything about politics and voting. Being able to communicate that information is very rewarding. I just walked away from her door and thought, "Wow!" This for me has been a great experience that I won't soon forget.
People are people wherever you go. In other words, most people are good. They may not be informed, but they are good. When you can convince someone that their vote does matter, it lets you know that what you're doing is so very important. When you can register a person who has never voted and get them pumped up, then you see how this work is not in vain.
I'm sure President Obama didn't ever say, "Well, this is getting too hard and I'm not going to campaign where don't people don't like me" so, we have to keep going, too.
What an experience! To know I helped re-elect President Obama. I will definitely work on future campaigns like this with my union.
Kristine Watson is a member of SEIU 1199WKO and works as a Resident Assistant at Hamlet Village Assisted Living in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.