I went into the satellite Obama HQ for Northern California today to do some phone banking. (I had to go to the satellite location because the main location and it's overflow locations were too full of volunteers). They trained me on what to say, gave me a list of 65 people to call in the Albuquerque area, and sent me off armed with my cell phone.
First thing to note is that phone banking is not a bad way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon, as long as you get to do it while sitting outside on the patio. Second thing was that very few people were home - or at least very few were answering the phone. The third thing is that New Mexico is not like Oakland - about half the people that I talked to were McCain supporters.
The weird thing was that judging from the names and the voices, I talked to a pretty broad cross section of folks. There were older white voters (judging by voice), Latinos of various age (name and voice) and a few young white folks (again judging purely by voice). I was not able to deduce any patterns about who was supporting whom. I had strong supporters of either candidate meeting all of the above demographic criteria.
The one thing that did stick out though was that the McCain supporters seemed angry and weren't really interested in saying why they were supporting him. The most memorable call was with a woman who seemed to be elderly who almost screamed at me that "I'm voting for McCain because that other guy hates our country!" And then she hung up on me.
I laughed, but really it just makes me sad. How filled with fear and hate do you have to be to believe such drivel. I guess some people really are scared that Obama is going to implement Sharia or something. Maybe he's going to send in the storm troopers to make sure that churches are closed down and everyone has to honor the Friday call to prayer? Maybe they think he's gonna really get even for slavery. Who knows.
Fortunately for my spirit, the next person that I reached rushed me off the phone because she was already an Obama volunteer. And the one after that explained that he didn't have time to volunteer for Obama because he was spending so much time volunteering for the Democratic senate hopeful - Tom Udall.
In any case, I'll be going back next Saturday. And maybe even sometime during the week. Wish me luck.