From now until November 5th: The upcoming election is about many things, not least the environment; this country needs to change its path sharply, and soon. The recent selection of a right-wing, stoutly anti-environmentalist vice-presidential candidate only raises the stakes. Volunteer opportunities abound, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania, and even simply being more vocal and visible can help. My next-door neighbor, who is a leader in the local Obama campaign, wrote up a great summary of how you and I can help influence this election, with practical suggestions and talking points.
What Can I Do to Help Obama Win?
Whether the Obama candidacy will become an Obama presidency will be determined by 21 swing states. Pennsylvania is one of those states and you know people in many of the others. Your vote is important, but it may not be not enough…we need your help to gain still more votes. Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Make your support for Obama visible. This will demonstrate your confidence in the Obama-Biden ticket and provide conversation-starter for people who want to get more information about the candidates or find out how they can volunteer to help with the campaign. For example, you can
a. Wear an Obama t-shirt or pin a button on your clothes, backpack, purse, or tote.
b. Post an Obama yard sign or a window sign and put an Obama bumper sticker on your car, truck, or bike. We can provide these item if you need them!
2. Talk with anyone you believe is undecided. Share your support for Barack Obama. Help make the choice clear. There are numerous ways to do this. For example,
a. Talk one-on-one with other individuals. In preparation, practice a 1-2 min explanation of why you support Barack Obama and why they might want to, as well. For example:
* The economy is in terrible shape: Unemployment rate is high (6.1 %) and rising – 600,000 jobs already lost this year alone! The fuel costs have increased by 83% in 12 months, and many will not be able to afford adequate heat this winter. The mortgage market has suffered a meltdown, many hardworking Americans have lost their homes, and we have just witnessed the largest Federal bailout of a financial institution in history at a cost to taxpayers of $25 Billion. The national debt is almost $10 trillion and growing. And our Government is doing little to help the poor and middle class. Many of the problems can be linked to Republication ideals of deregulation and market behavior.
* War in Iraq must end: Initiated on a lie, so far the war has resulted in 4,000 dead and 30,000 wounded US soldiers, and untold Iraqi civilian deaths. The mistreatment of our veterans is unconscionable. The war costs $10 Billion a month – funding which could be used to provide social programs such as health insurance for all Americans and a better education for our children.
* Health care must be made available and affordable: Costs are high and rising, businesses and consumers are burdened with high insurance premiums, and 47 million people are without any health insurance!
* The Supreme Court is vulnerable: A least three new Supreme Court Justices will be probably appointed during the next presidency and will decide critical issues including reproductive choices and Constitutional and economic rights. These are lifetime appointments; the Justices’ impact on our Nation will far outlast the next administration.
* Also: Torture, global warming, the loss of privacy, the real nature of the McCain-Palin ticket… the topics are many.
b. Speak to religious, civic, or professional organizations. Some of the talking points are listed above, others are available at www.barackobama.com.
c. Host a gathering at your house or community center. Encourage those who have not yet decided who to vote for to participate, including Hillary supporters, Republicans, and Independents. Promote discussion, invite a local speaker, view one of Barack Obama’s speeches that are on You Tube, or watch one of the upcoming debates.
3. Volunteer to canvas or make phone calls from a central location or your own home. Contact your local Obama office or sign up on the Obama web site.
4. Set up and staff an information table. Pick a busy area. Use the opportunity to register people to vote before the deadline (Oct. 6), to talk to people, and/or to sell buttons, bumper stickers, yard-signs, or t-shirts. We can provide all these items, just ask. (Most outdoor sidewalks are public property, and you can set up a table as long as you don’t block pedestrian traffic.)
5. Set up a personal fundraising page via the Obama site, then contact people and ask for contributions. It will raise money and promote commitment. (The site makes it all very easy – you do not actually need to handle any of the funds.)
6. Write letters to the editor and articles for newsletters. Letters to the Editor in newspapers and articles in newsletters allow us to speak up on the issues and explain who we, the Obama supporters, really are. These should be individually written, and personal where possible. People respond to stories, and a well-written letter can change minds!
7. Help recruit more volunteers. The campaign needs volunteers on every block and at every public gathering – fairs, picnics, sports events. No contribution of time is too small.
8. Contact individuals in your address book. Get your family, friends, and colleagues involved, particularly if they live in a swing states. Modify and send this handout. (We can provide an electronic version.) The states listed in bold type are especially important; they are likely to determine the outcome on Nov. 4!
Colorado Florida Georgia Indiana Iowa Louisiana
Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana Nevada
New Hampshire New Mexico North Carolina North Dakota
Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Virginia Washington Wisconsin
For additional ideas on how you can help, please ideas see
Our work over the next two months will determine the next eight years and beyond.
WE CAN DO IT – WITH YOUR HELP!
Pittsburgh Volunteers for Obama (PghObama@gmail.com) 9/9/08