Before you can hit up NM or CO, every member of Obama Fight Club must attend training.
Obama Fight Club training is not for the faint of heart. Grueling physical fitness is almost never required. Nor is the ability to punch through dry wall [but it comes in handy. seriously. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked to make holes in dry wall with my fists of fury!?]. In reality OFC training is pretty simple, it’s a two day tour de force of all the possible things that a field organizer might ask you to do, which includes but is not limited to: phone banking, data entry, canvassing, setting up events online, emailing supporters, making copies, putting together packets, and other official campaign shenanigans. As a member of OFC, whenever a field organizer asks you to do something you do it.
After training you have two options: stay in boring TX [where all we do is call people and ask them to go to NM aka harass people until they say yes] or head west to the Land of Enchantment [I’ve yet to see the enchantment…seen a lot of shitty drivers but no enchantment]
Im working in a predominantly Hispanic [chicano, more specifically] community in one of the poorest regions in NM, Dona Ana County. [they are barely paving the roads out here] Richardson won 85% of the vote in this area. So far in the past month the HQ here has registered 800 people to vote. The average income is 9,700 /yr. 70% of the volunteers in Southern New Mexico are Texans…The office I work in covers Anthony, Berino, Chaparral, Santa Teresa, Sunland Park [the worst hit area] & La Union communities. [20 min south-east of Las Cruces and 20 min. west of the TX state line, maybe 30 minutes from Mexico] A lot of the volunteers drive over the TX state line to help us out; my job is to give them a ride [the elderly apparently don’t like to drive 30 minutes on raging freeways to get out to NM.]
I lived close to NM growing up but have never seen this part of NM before. Many of the people in Southern NM are living right above the survival line.
The people in this area are incredibly nice But canvassing out in these communities can be a bit depressing seeing as the people that need change the most, the people who cant afford 4yrs of Republican terror can’t even make their voices heard. They are the silent Americans that have no say in this election.
We’ve moved into the second phase of the campaign which is just making sure we win before this even starts. Our main goal is to make sure Barack has a huge lead going in to Nov. 4 by getting people to submit their absentee ballots and voting early. Every Sat. til the election we are holding mock Nov. 4’s to ready ourselves. Everyone here has specific jobs for Nov. 4, it’s a huge operation they’ve set up down here and we aren’t allowed to really talk about it [I contend the name of the operation should be Obama fight Club but no one ever wants to listen to the intern.]
At this point though we think that Barack Obama has won Southern New Mexico, but we don’t know by how much. We want it to be a blow out of epic proportions [McCain doesn’t even have offices down here. Apparently he doesn’t go this far South]. The republicans don’t waste their time out here but have been sending misleading information in the mail to the residents of these communities [we’ve already sent copies to Obama’s legal team] They have also resorted to harassing church goers by placing pictures of aborted babies all over their cars when they’re in service [classy, fucking classy]
Our second goal is political power. We need a huge turnout out here, not for Barack alone but to help the community gain political power. The communities out here aren’t being paid enough attention by their elected leaders and the only way to send a clear message about how important they are is by showing everyone, from here to Washington, that these people matter. The people out here are largely cynical about politicians because politicians never deliver anything to these communities and we want to change that. We want them to gain the political power they need to make real materialistic changes in their communities.
Yesterday the first Mexican- American congresswoman to be elected to US congress, Lucille Royball-Allard, came to the area to watch the debate with the community and then to talk about domestic issues afterward. There are two parts of the discussion that stood out most for me. The first is when an elderly couple shared their story of how they had lost their home because of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. [It was pretty damn emotional.]The second and perhaps the singular most defining moment of the discussion is when a man from the community asked the congresswoman for a favor. “Please when you leave this community, don’t forget about us.”