A friend of mine has written about his experience phone banking against Proposition 8. Click on continue reading to learn more.
Did you make many phone calls during this election cycle? Are they effective? It seems all the winning campaigns in a contested election do them, yet most of us consider them annoying.
A liberal activist group put together this ad that singles out the Mormon Church, without mentioning other religious groups, for supporting Proposition 8.
Do you think it goes too far or is it just humor? Either way it doesn't seem like it would be an effective tactic to win over voters. But maybe that is the part of me that grew up in Simi Valley, where there are many Mormons.
Working the phone bank was emotionally draining and empowering. I was given a list of about 90 names and started dialing. I was 2/3 of the way through the list and only about 10 of my calls were answered. Many of the people were angry that I had called them. A few were in agreement and were very pleasant. I began to question the purpose of the calls if no votes were changed. I asked the rest of the team and nobody was making an impact on the voting public. Then I made a call to a woman who said that she was a Christian who was concerned with what the Bible said about homosexuality and that she also didn't want to take away peoples civil rights. She said that she was African American and was sensitive to peoples rights. We talked for about 30 minutes. We discussed how the Bible supports slavery and that to condemn slavery necessitates a morality that is beyond the Bible. I told her that the same applies to same sex marriage and that ultimately the important thing is to love other people as you love yourself. When we were done, she seemed ready to vote no on 8 and asked me to talk to her husband. She said that others have talked to him and that he scared them off. I started off doing more listening than talking with her husband, . His concerns were the same as his wife, but he was a bit more dogmatic. He also said that he deals with being African American every day. I used the same slavery/morality argument. At one point he asked what was really at stake with Prop. 8. I had never considered this and I was lucky to give the right answer. I said that the legal rights issues are small. The real issue is simply a label of respect that should be equally given to all. We talked more, maybe a total of 20 minutes. He finally said something where I knew that I had him. He asked why gay people need this label. After all, it is only a word that they are fighting for. They should be able to just get over it. I told him that these words of respect are of great importance and that he knows it because he deals with this every day himself. They will be important as long as he is a human being. Again I told him that he should love others as he loves himself. I think when we were done, he had gone from voting yes to undecided. I didn't ask either one to promise to vote no. I felt that we had formed a personal bond of understanding and depended on their conscience to guide them. I made an impact and it was empowering, but it drained me. I couldn't dial any more numbers.