Embedded: Bwog goes native
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog editor Lydia DePillis is in Kentucky, trying life on the other side.
FRANKFORT, Ky.–Another door, another vote, another Advil. According to Dems organizers, we may be hitting the entirety of Beshear’s base in this 27,000-person town, and it felt like it –canvassers were assigned large suburban districts and sent out in two-person teams, rather than three. Those who had been on last year’s trip to Ohio spoke wistfully of former Dems president Seth Flaxman’s patented “shotgun method,” wherein one person keeps track of the paperwork, dispatching doorknockers smoothly and rapid-fire. The Beshear field staff, however, had their own ideas, which the Columbia kids were largely forced to abide by.
After a few hours tailing dogged canvassers in a neighborhood within sight of the capitol dome, it was pointed out to me that—being a gossip rag and all–there’s really no reason why I shouldn’t try a few doors myself. So, feeling slightly traitorous holding the glossy green and blue Beshear banners, I practiced my spiel and prepared to join the activist nation.
Attempt #1: First door. As instructed, I asked for Wanda. The tall young man who came to the door informed me that I must have the wrong house. I reminded him to vote and left, the cheery smile fading from my face as I turned away.
Attempt #2: No response, despite a car in the driveway. Or maybe the doorbell just wasn’t working.
Attempt #3: The best door I could have possibly encountered. An old man with big horn rimmed glasses was walking down the stairs to his house, looking at me expectantly. I introduced myself, and made the mistake of asking whether I could count on his vote for Beshear. “Well I can’t tell you, we have a secret ballot,” he creaked. Fair enough. Then he asked my name, and I told him, and we got into a discussion about my Italian ancestry and how he had served there in World War II (at one point he started talking to me in Italian tinted with Kentuckian). “You tell Beshear something,” he said (in English). “He’s really gotten off on the wrong foot with casinos. That’s going to bring so much vice and corruption to Kentucky…” I nodded gravely, feeling myself become more and more girlish before this relic of an earlier age, content to listen and prompt him further with my silence. I left reluctantly, wishing I could stay the whole evening to talk—but the whole street beckoned.
Attempt #4: I approached a nice little brick house, and after a longer than average wait, saw a little wizened face appear at the window. I heard bolts sliding and chains unclasping, and the door opened to reveal a stooped 94-year-old woman, whom I slowly and clearly told should vote on Tuesday, wondering how in the world she was going to get to her polling place. There was an awkward pause. “What is it you wanted me to do?” she asked, with big eyes and a fixed smile. “Vote,” I said. “On Tuesday.” She nodded, and I backed away grinning nervously, waving goodbye. The door took a long, long time to close.
There were more doors and more stories (including one, from Dems board member Mara Richard, involving a man coming to the door, sweating, wearing a pink bathrobe, with a naked woman on the couch behind him, kicking a dog away from the door. Why someone would interrupt such evident fun to answer the door for a canvasser remains beyond me). When I arrived back at the staging area, I was exhausted and famished. I would never make it in politics.
Meanwhile, calls to the Fletcher campaign (I’d like to find what college students still spend their weekends canvassing for a guy who’s spending half as much as his opponent) have yet to be returned, although I did happen upon the state GOP headquarters, which are housed in the Mitch McConnell building (at right). Do they rename it every time a new Republican senator comes into office?