October 5, 2004

Presidential Campaigning

WOW! What a day we had. We decided to dedicate the day to working for President Bush and Vice President Cheney. We began with a visit to the Republican Headquarters and helped out around the office. The kids put together lawn signs, cut handouts and brought papers to the people who needed them, they helped with sign distribution and just around the office.

We headed home for lunch and a break - after a treat of Culvers Custard as a thank you for all their hardwork and in keeping up with our C theme. Rhiannon chose Caramel Pecan and Ciaran chose chocolate. We stopped at the stores to get the necessary supplies for making our Tshirts then headed home.

We each made a "Homeschoolers for Bush" tshirt with tshirt transfers printed out from the computer. They came out ok - there was some peeling but the shirts are great and got quite a bit of commentary - nearly all positive this evening.

We headed back out to headquarters where we put together some more signs and then got some tickets for the upcoming speech this weekend and we went door to door trying to rally the support for the President and handing out tickets to those who said the president could count on their vote. We continued to knock on doors for about two hours until it seemed too late. We headed back to headquarters to turn in our sheets and find out the plan for tomorrow.

As we moved through our day we used the teachable moments for lessons. When we were putting together lawn signs I told them that they were able to help the campaign in a variety of ways by doing this. They were helping put supplies together for other people to advertise for the candidates. They were also freeing up other valuable resources that could be used doing other things that we could not do. For instance since we were putting signs together two older people could make more phone calls to insure that voters were registered or sending in their absentee ballots, rather than do the work we were doing.

At another point when we were cutting handouts to give to people we talked about how printing two on one sheet can save the campaign money and free it up to be used in other areas. We also talked about how the information we were cutting was very important because it gave people directions on where to park and when to be at the event which would make it run smoother. We were also contributing to the security of the event by giving people the information about what items are prohibited at events. I told them that by their helping give the papers to the right people they were saving those people the time to have to do it themselves and freeing them up to do other responsibilities. We talked about how all the small activities add up and are very important to running a campaign. We talked in terms of how we were working for the president. How some campaign work was fun and easy and other activity was hard and sometimes dirty (we laughed as our hands were very dirty from the metal signposts we were using) or as Rhiannon said "some campaign work is filthy!" I refrained from going into a discussion of dirty politics.

Perhaps my favorite teachable lessons came when we were walking around neighborhoods and knocking on doors. When we started the kids were very enthusiastic and believed everyone would be very excited to see the president speak. It was interesting to watch their reaction to people who were clearly not for the president. I was impressed with the reactions we got - even those who were not pro-Bush were polite and respectful - of course I did have three small children with me. But I could see Rhiannon start to understand that not everyone was excited about President Bush and I think it helped the lessons about elections and voting sink in. We talked about what would happen if people did not vote and we were able to use our election class as a frame of reference.

Then something interesting started to happen - we started to guess what the reaction would be at each house. Some were easy - they have a Bush-Cheney sign won't they be excited to see us. I mean really what better door knocking experience can you do than to offer free tickets to see the President of the United States speak? I was glad this was my kids first experience with door knocking as overall it was positive. Rhiannon noticed something and then we tested her theory and found that in our very minor example she was correct. She started getting excited when she saw American flags hanging outside houses. At first I thought it was because she likes American flags - we spent quite a bit of time on them last month and she was very excited when she learned the Pledge of Allegiance. Then she said to me that people who have flags are usually happy to see us and want to see the president. Sure enough nearly (if not all) every house from that point on that had a flag - either wanted tickets or already had tickets and said that the president could count on their vote. I thought it was an interesting correlation and was proud of Rhiannon for realizing it and pointing it out to me. Incidentally we too fly an American flag at our house, though I do have some friends who fly flags that are not Republican and I am in no way saying that all people who fly flags support President Bush - yet it seemed that was the way things went tonight in our experiment - tune in for the rest of the week to see how things go with that.

Then I treated the kids to dinner and to my luck it was kids eat free night. Everyone was really hungry and we ate an astonishing amount of food - I don't think anyone had anything left on their plate as everyone was eating everyone else's leftovers. By the time we got home it was after 10 pm - the kids tumbled into their Pj's and their beds and were sound asleep within moments of crashing.

I am now facing a household of chores and what feels like more mess in every room I go into and the absolute desire to just go to sleep. Duty calls and I atleast need to get my dishes from the day done - something about dirty dishes in the morning is very tough for me to deal with - it sets a negative tone for the whole day.


1 comment:

  1. Wow! You rock, Tenn. What an awesome hands-on lesson that your kids will never forget! BTW, we don't fly a flag and won't be voting for Bush, my folks fly a flag and (at least my dad) will so Rhia's theory is intact so far. No lack of patriotism on our part, more of a backlog of household chores and installing a flag holder isn't at the top of the list! My priorities may be wrong but I really want a showerhead installed more than a flag!