I'm sitting in the Get Out the Vote section of Minnesotans United for All Families' Minneapolis (Loring Park) office, welcoming and logging in volunteers who are here to do phone calling to voters for a few more days. I decided to take the week off from work and give the campaign all I could for a last push.
It's a humming place, full of volunteers like me who spend hour after hour here. While I am allegedly in charge of the greeting center, many of the volunteers have been doing this for weeks and, as is so often the case, are training the bumbling new boss.
It is deeply heartening to see so many people giving their best to keep Minnesota open and friendly! The atmosphere is joyful, lively and engaged, the way I feel in a good school when I poke my head into a classroom and marvel at how you can feel the learning happening. Very few of the folks here are paid to be here; the vast majority are volunteering. I love that! I feel like I am part of a movement!
That's honestly why I took the week off. People are thanking me and saying how "good" I am in various ways, but I did this because that feeling of being part of something big and alive and caring is so precious, and I just didn't want to miss it. Others go to the beach and soak up sun on vacation; I am soaking up civic engagement.
There are tons of details to tend to, and many hands, eyes and ears to tend to them. There are young people, old people, people of every physical and mental capacity, every gender identity and sexual orientation, people who are experienced, and people volunteering for the first time.
People are on the phone, on computers, writing on paper, talking to one another, training and being trained, talking to voters about where to vote, talking to undecided voters one more time. People pop in quickly, having parked illegally, to pick up a yard sign. To me, whatever the outcome of the election, this feels like freedom. This feels like the world I want to be part of!
Meanwhile, a friend in Maryland posts on Facebook that he is in line to vote early. He asks, "Why again do people get to vote on my marriage?" I am sure I will feel that way when I vote, as well. But in the meanwhile, I'm soaking up all the people who are with me, who care enough to spend their time here, who write on hearts the reasons that compel them to do this work instead of reading a good book or watching a movie, and post those hearts on the walls.
I feel blessed.