Why I Spend My Nights And Weekends Listening To People Tell Me To F*ck Off
A few times a week, after I finish the workday or on a weekend afternoon, I log into a Zoom call. Yes, another Zoom call. I listen to trainers talk about the message for the night and who we are calling (or texting). I lock myself in my bedroom, take a deep breath, and start dialing (or texting).
People hang up on me. People ask me to take me off their list. (I do.) People tell me to fuck off.
They text me emojis of the middle finger. They tell me to go to hell. They text scream like Kimberly Guilfoyle about how SOCIALISM WILL RUIN THE COUNTRY AND THOSE EMAILS AND WHAT ABOUT THAT HARD DRIVE AND TRUMP 2020. AAAAAAAAGGGHHHHH! (And oh yeah, fuck off.)
My response? “Have a nice day.” Then I respond to the next message or dial the next number.
Why do I do this? Why do I voluntarily spend several hours a week having people text scream at me and hang up on me?
No, it’s not because I’m a glutton for punishment. I am a phone banker and text banker with the Democratic party of a swing state. I spend all these hours calling and texting voters so that we can get Trump out of office.
Let me be very clear here: I absolutely hate talking on the phone. Like really hate it. But you know what I hate even more? The monster in the White House right now.
So yes, I voluntarily spend hours and hours talking to strangers on the phone or text, responding “have a nice day” to jerks who tell me to fuck off, and asking people to “remind three friends to vote” all in an effort to get out the vote.
Because it’s just that important.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of lovely conversations. One of the best was when I talked with a woman who sounded like she was in her 90s who couldn’t pronounce Biden’s last name, but knew she was voting for him. I texted with a mom of two young kids who had moved to another state and even though she couldn’t volunteer, she was going to encourage her retired parents to get involved. I helped a 57-year-old woman who had never voted before and couldn’t wait to vote for the first time find her early voting location. And I had a long conversation with an undecided voter who was a payment away from losing her car because she had lost her job during the pandemic and the government had failed to provide meaningful assistance, after which she said she’d do some more research.
Because it’s just that important.
You don’t need to be retired or a stay-at-home parent or a college kid to get involved either. I have a full-time 9-to-5 job, plus a side gig and two very loud kids to manage. An hour matters. Every little bit counts. I know what I’m doing is a drop in the bucket. There are people out there going door to door to drop off literature. There are people leading teams of volunteers and helping people like me to do this one small task. But that’s the thing about it – each small role joins with another small role and another and another, and before long we’ve created something really big. Something important. Something meaningful.
So next time you get another call or text from Amanda or Jonathan or Christine (wink, wink), remember that there is likely an actual person on the other end of the phone. We are volunteering our free time to make sure that we don’t have a repeat of 2016. We are giving up time with our families because we firmly believe that getting Biden elected is in the best interest of all families. We are stepping out of our comfort zones, all in an effort to make sure that you – stranger on the other end of the phone – have the information you need to cast a ballot of Biden. And if you aren’t voting for Biden, well, then we hope you “have a nice day.”
So be kind. RESPOND to those messages. Tell us that “yes” you are voting for Biden. And if you aren’t, a simple “no, I’m voting for so-and-so” will suffice. There’s no need for the all caps FUCK YOUs. All you’re doing is making us even more committed to getting Trump and his platform of hate and division out of office.
If you can spend a few hours making calls or sending texts, sign up. Remember: every little bit counts.
And for the love of all things good, VOTE.
It really is that important.
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