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Guyon: Electoral Uplift

This election season, I did something I’ve done many times in the past for various causes: I made phone calls. Lots of phone calls. And I was reminded that phonebanking can be both energizing and disheartening; you have to be ready for anything. For hours I sat at my laptop using the campaign’s efficient phonebanking software - my eyes glued to the little window that popped up after each call with the next voter’s name and details, and my ear glued to the phone as it automatically made the connection.

Sure, I was hung up on, told to buzz off in so many words, even yelled at and argued with. But those calls were few and far between. Most of the people at the other end of the line were kind, respectful and polite. Some were, in fact, downright chatty, and clearly wanted to have a conversation about what’s happening in this country.

Because the software also shows the person’s age, I knew when I was speaking with a first-time voter. And these were the calls that pretty much transformed my outlook on the future.

It’s easy for those of us who’ve been voting for decades to think we have a finger on the socio-political pulse, when we really have no idea how things might turn out and are scratching our heads as much as any teenager entering a voting booth for the very first time.

But through phonebanking, I got a glimpse into the future - and I think it’s looking good. I spoke with countless young people who are thrilled just to feel welcome at the polls. One young woman said “This is a lifetime commitment, way beyond the next four years.” Another declared “Even if my candidate doesn’t win, I’ll be involved in all future elections, because I have a voice!”

One older gentleman, who can’t vote because he’s a recently released felon, was out canvassing for his candidate when he got my call on his cellphone. “Even if I can’t vote, I’m working hard to get my life back together,” he said, “and to fight for what I believe in.”

So no matter who occupies the White House for the next four years, it would appear that there’s a whole new segment of the population determined to be involved, in this election and every one thereafter. And that’s what I call a revolution.