Thursday, November 15, 2012

Restoring the Future

I could not blog before- but now everything is fine!
The Monday before last, election eve, Dr. Motes and I went and "got out the vote." Dr. Motes  because he is civic-minded and for me, as my daughter observed, "because you like to meet people." We were assigned to what we call the rest of the year a "rough neighborhood:"i.e African American.  
Dr. Motes was all for the afternoon, but people won't be home, said I. Not a place to be after dark, said D. Motes, old Miami hand. Then I remembered: the clocks had just been turned back- It would be dark by six! 
 Ahem- We are liberals but we are also older, not so nimble and definitely white.(Theyll think we're Republicans!) -Well, we are certainly THINKING Republican.)
We compromised, driving up at four with our clipboards and lists, and there we were in our "rough neighborhood;" small houses, teenage boys hanging out under the one big tree, a group of mostly toddlers and teenage girls on chairs near a mail box, imposing black Mum in the middle.

Dr. Motes took the even numbers. He had the imposing Mum but I had to leave my odd numbers and ask her, please, right off the bat "Could I please use the bathroom?"(Hey- That's how you meet people.)
As we plowed through more toddlers and teenagers to the bathroom, she agreed that getting older took its toll: "Me, I'm fifty-three!" No way!  Is that another reason people can get angry with African Americans - so many of them look so young, for ever.

My odd numbers turned up Lee, young Mum ready for Tuesday with two sons, " and aunts, Grandmothers!" A  young gay man: yes, his grandmother had already voted: older man, two sons, (gently pointing out "that's 'Senior'", by his name.)  There were some chained front gates and some No Answers, one with the TV full on. But there was only one sharp: "Who's that?" A man who said he couldn't vote: "Just out of prison."
 "And THAT'S why we need Obama back!" I cry through his wrought iron door.
.The boys under the tree were friendly in that quizzical, indulgent teenage way. One asked what sounded like "You voting Romney?" with a grin.

Back in '08, getting out the vote often meant first, trying to convince many African Americans that a black man had any chance of winning. Vote for Hillary! Don't throw your vote away! As one old lady said, "We don't want to get our hopes up." Well, they did and it worked and last Tuesday it worked again and that bizarre Republican slogan really applies to us on the other side: last Tuesday week we Restored the Future.