When is my next fix...?
Trip Start Oct 15, 2008
20Trip End Nov 24, 2008
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And I'll admit it; I'm caught up, too. I have become a political junkie. I love the entertainment element - and the rock star is my idol. This is so much better than boring Danish politics. Amusing thought; imagine Anders Fogh debating Obama in front of 100m viewers ? It would be a thrashing...! There's 24 hour politics on CNN and all the other networks to satisfy my craving for a fix - and I wonder how I will re-enter the real world after this...
I arrived in Durham, North Carolina a week and a half ago, to start work two weeks before the election. Spencer and Becky greeted me at the office, and since it does not require a degree in rocket science to perform many of the tasks we have, I was off pretty quickly.
We canvas and make phone calls during the day, and at night we type all the information (what the voters we made contact told us in terms of choice for president, senator and governor, whether they intend to vote early, need rides to the polls or would like to volunteer etc) into one big mother-database. Next morning, that database then spits out new lists of voters to contact and the whole thing starts again.
There is a pleasant dorm-like atmosphere in the office; and it's definitely Management by Chaos. People come and go, some are only there for a couple of hours (says Obama; make a few calls for me, knock on a few doors - and so we do) - others stay until 3 in the morning (Eric, go home !!). If you come from a business background you can't help thinking there's got to be a better way to use the resources, to get in touch with all voters - other than walking from door to door, sometimes only finding below 10% at home, and thus just leaving a flyer. But then you think about it; we would all lose our motivation if we were put in cubicles and asked to do the same job all day long (hey, you're good at data entry; do that for 12 hours now !). Freedom is the motivator - now there's an interesting concept that many companies could learn something from !
And somehow it all manages to come together; there's hot food almost every night, a full fridge (we still live on junk, though), things just work. Management by Chaos ! I've heard people mention upwards of 15,000 volunteers in North Carolina alone (for the Democrats, that is) - and at an event in Reno, Nevada they had asked for volunteers during a weekend and expected 200 to come; 2000 (!) showed up, mainly from California. It works - and the media widely reports this campaign as one of the best run, most effective and tight organisations in the history of presidential elections. And that's only on the numbers-side; the enthusiasm, I'm told by everyone, is beyond what anyone thought possible. It's awesome (an American word used too little in Europe...!) to be a part of !
Now we just hope that people will not vote with their couch brain, but actually use a bit of common sense when they make their decision (read Rolling Stone's very interesting take on this; http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/23318320/mad_dog_palin). Paris Hilton is actually running her own campaign - but in my humble opinion, my guy - Obama - has slightly more intelligent views than Paris and Palin...