Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Only slightly dissapointed

I should have started this last week, just after the first volunteer meeting for the re-election campaign...I'll have to turn back time a bit, but let me start with today.

So it's nearing two pm, and I just got off the phone with the Mayor. I had left a message for him last night, letting him know that I was available for more volunteer work than just voter registration and leaflet distribution. I had also put together an online strategy proposal for the re-election, which I'm sure got shoved into someone's briefcase and immediately forgotten about. In my voice message last night, I asked him if he'd received the proposal, and if not, to let me know who his Chief of Staff is so that I can follow up directly.

Now we come to the disappointed part. He says "let's just concentrate on the door to door right now". I could tell he was in the midst of a few things at once, and so I let it go, thanked him for his return phone call and hung up. Sigh. I know that there are a bunch of other jobs that I can help with, and I realize that it must be so difficult for the Mayor to reply to everyone that wants to help - but I'm feeling a bit frustrated because as much as I love my town, it's politics as usual. It's who you know, not what you can do. Of course, if the shoe was on the other foot, I'm pretty sure I'd be happy. This is simply the reality of a town where the mayor is very supported, and even volunteer work is divvied up according to relationships. So nobody (but me, and maybe my husband) gets what I can offer, and if they *do* get it, they probably can't even stop to take a breath to think about the benefits. Right now it's one step at a time, and naturally the focus is on the most immediate concern of voter registration.

The volunteers have been out in full force all week, starting with last Wednesday for voter registration. The meeting was called for 5:30/6pm, and I was there a few minutes before 6pm. I stood in the middle of the crowd, but as soon as Izarry started speaking, the crowd surged to the front, leaving me in the dust. Of course, since I'm by myself it's much easier to get shoved to the back. Union City is friendly enough, and I love it here, but man it's hard to break in...everyone knows each other, and they seem leery of inviting a newcomer into the mix. Unlike previous towns I've lived in, this isn't a place where people extend the hand of friendship too easily. Maybe a language barrier? I think it's probably just a general attitude of "who is this newcomer", I'll say hi after seeing her around for a few years. So despite being teamed off with complete strangers, not one of them introduces themselves to me - they simply give an instruction and you are meant to follow it. I pointedly introduced myself and asked for their names, which they gave, but I was clearly operating out of the general comfort zone.

I guess I feel a bit better getting this frustration out of my head. Understanding the situation (I do) is definitely not the same as liking the situation (I don't).

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