Posted by: chlost | September 10, 2010

Road knocking

Recently, my husband and I have been working on a local re-election campaign for a state senator. For most of the summer, due to the complications in our lives we have not been able to be very involved.  The next few months should be fairly quiet (we hope!). So, we have been trying to get more involved again as election day approaches.

Get out and vote, everyone!

The other day, I spent several hours “road knocking” with the senator. This is similar to door knocking. However we live in a relatively rural area. So in order to connect with these constituents, we drive from home to home. The senator gets motion sickness if she is riding in the car. She is okay if she drives. My job was to ride in the passenger seat and keep track of the homes that we visited and the reactions of the residents.

The entire process resulted in over 100 homes visited that day. Most of the response was good, some was lukewarm. There were a few negative responses. Only one person refused to even take the literature. One person asked her party affiliation and upon hearing that, walked away. His wife kindly continued to speak with the senator however.

The general positive reaction surprised me. As everyone in this country knows, the news and the mouths of many in the media is full of very negative attitudes about politics. When we went directly to the homes of individuals, we found polite, kind, interested persons. Even if the person disagreed or had a negative response they were polite. Several people engaged in lengthy conversations. A few offered to help out. It was a good day overall.

It restored my faith in people. At least most of the people here.

There was another impression that has stayed with me. These people are struggling. Many of the homes were clearly shabby. Some were neglected. A few were downright scary. The rural poor are invisible. No one seems to realize how hard it is to be poor and far away from towns with grocery stores, jobs, gas stations and schools. In many places the idyllic image of country life had certainly turned to a nightmare.

The final image-dogs. Everyone had a dog. Most of them had very big dogs. Many of the dogs were aggressive. One was a large pit bull on a chain with links the diameter of my pinkie finger. We guessed that the people at that house were in the barn stirrin’ up a mess of meth. It was pretty scary at that place, we couldn’t get out soon enough. I have dealt with meth cookers before, but not at their home, and not in the presence of a large dog. 

If you know anyone who routinely goes to people’s homes as part of their job (like social workers, public health workers, meter readers, or census workers) realize that they are not being paid enough for their work. At least police officers have guns to protect themselves.

I found road knocking to be a good experience overall.

It is good to know that real people are still generally good.

Keep it in mind as you hear all of the hate and viciousness spewing from those who have an agenda which is furthered by passing that hate on to others. 

Maybe there is a sliver of hope for the future.



  1. I wish more of our elected officials would get out in the real world and see how bad things really are. Most of them need a big dose of reality. Good for your candidate!

  2. Good for you, getting involved.

    And, living in a city, myself, but having grown up in a number of small towns in rural Minnesota, I must admit that “rural poor” actually frightens me a little more than “urban poor”.


  3. I always thought case managers atthe mental health center where I worked didn’t get paid enough to make their home visits.

    • No question. Those who set the pay have never had to do that job.

  4. My wife used to do child protective services, but usually had a cop along with her. But sometimes not, and yes… some people live virtually in trash.

    Cool that you are taking the message to the street, not many people would do that… me among them.

    • She is braver than I.

  5. My husband now goes to homes as well as wrecking yards and auction lots. I agree…..not only dangerous but he’s not being paid enough. He thinks it is.

    • Ooo-wrecking lots would be even scarier. Hope he is careful.

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