I was a substitute teacher this past semester. Not a great one (depending on who you ask). Let's just say I was a fan favorite. Which led me to not being asked to return to substitute at some school districts. Fair enough. The ones that continued to tolerate my derision of the public school system actually benefited I believe by having their students finally exposed to a realistic and sympathetic figure who continued their education despite sharing the same misgivings about the education system. That was, I admit, very rare. Mostly, kids heard me swear, inappropriately, and I wasn't asked to come back. Fair enough, frankly I should not have been allowed to come in the first place. But it is hard to relate to a group of high schoolers or even middle schoolers. If you are an intelligent person and you think back to when you were that age, you have a world view that could differ drastically from someone who was coddled, appropriately, until they were ready to face the harsh reality of existence. You are making Holocaust jokes to make up for their premature exposure to the worst of mankind, before these children even know what the Holocaust was. Your intentions are good, but the bureaucracy, (and me as a parent) has no patience for such nonsense. Elementary students are much easier; just make sure they do not commit violence against each other, and they are fine. But high school kids will take you to the brink of anything you are willing to go to the brink of. They're kind of great actually...
So, the school year ended and I needed a job, and I took one as a political organizer in the Wisconsin recall elections. Here's what I did today: I drove 5 hours from the Quad Cities to Wisconsin to work on the recall election campaign. I traveled into the 'driftless valley' an area the size of Connecticut known for its huge bluffs and low coulees that have been untouched since before the glacial melt flattened the Great Plains immediately to the west. I knocked on doors of people from girls who were old enough to vote, and even though they were liberal, I still felt bad for being attracted to them; to octogenarians that had recently lost their wives but were still going to vote to save teachers' pensions for the 'sake of society'. This is what I am working for. We are trying to save the public education system from being destroyed as opposed to just being on the brink of destruction. We are trying fight for working class families to enjoy the modern comforts of '1st world' society that we enjoy at the expense of all other 'worlds' including Mars. But, what we are actually trying to do, and what no one will talk about, is we are trying to make sure the singular resource government actually has - money/and legitimate use of violence to enforce it, is left to the discretion of popularly elected officials and not just people born into wealth, lottery winners, and people that have attained great wealth at the expense of others. Because, honestly, those are the only ways you can join the 'it makes fiscal sense for me to vote Republican' caste. It will never make moral sense. And you will have to reckon with whatever demons you believe in - fortunately they don't exist. But for the sake of sane people, we should have a government that works for us, or else there is no reason to have created a government to begin with that will enforce unconscionable disparities in material wealth through violence.
I am lonely. I lost what I thought was the love of my life about a year and a half ago now. And not in a 'you win some, you lose some' sense. It was a 'I thought I won some, but got blown up by a suicide bomber before I could begin to enjoy it' thing. I am now trying to make due via a disfigured and shrapneled corpse. So, part of what I enjoy about my job is that I get to be around nice people. And even the people that slam the door in my face, call me a (sic)Fascist, and threaten me from behind a screen door in a trailer with a butter knife, can't actually mortally wound my soul, and even if they could, it would already have been done before and therefore not as big of a deal. Part of what I am seeking, and what I have learned politics is, is connecting with people. They don't have to be on your side (though it is nice if they are), but some people in this world are just great, and really nice, and it doesn't matter what you come at them with - 'I want to save your personal retirement fund', 'I want to personally raise your taxes', 'Jesus was definitely into jam-band music', it doesn't matter what the conversation is, some people WILL connect with you on a deep, visceral level, just by being in their presence. And that is a powerful thing to experience. And honestly it is what more people felt with Barack Obama over John McCain, and what people would feel if the Republicans this time had a half-way sanity driven candidate over Obama, and it is what decides elections.
Which brings me back to what we are doing. We are the face and voice of the candidates at your door. We have to try to be as pleasant and accommodating as possible even when we think you are the worst swine in existence. So, vote for who we are out there for because if the other candidate has not bothered screwing my life up enough for me to come to your door, then you should really question their priorities; I work for you, bottom 99.9% of America's income earners. And don't worry that you're in the top 00.01%, because they all live abroad!!