Confessions of a Phone Banker

I am one of those people who call up around election day reminding people to vote – and more specifically to vote for the person we are committed to. One has to be committed, because it requires the renunciation of the Golden Rule – to do unto others what you would have them do unto you. I haven’t much appreciated phone-banked calls, but now that I am making them I have become more tolerant – and even more polite.

We try not to call you during the family dinner time – although it can be a moveable feast, and we stop before bedtime – 9:00 – no nighttime worrying calls; we do not argue with differences of opinion and we thank you for your time.

I talk easily, believe in my candidate (for Mayor of Oakland, CA) – Jean Quan, and that belief is why I do it. I don’t do it for just any cause or for just any one. It might surprise those on the other end of the line, hat kinds of responses I come across. I get thanked a lot for making the calls. Occasionally a juicy piece of gossip comes my way which I treat is “off the record”
. Quite often, people are not aware of an election coming up! I find this very strange – as a campaign worker I have been involved with the election for months. The most vitriolic of responses come not from hose who decline to state or are not supporting my candidate but by those angry about Oakland’s government – a “throw the bums out” feeling that often is followed by – “I’m not voting”. I am in favor of a “None of the above” category as a way to vent anger and still preserve the responsibility of voting.

While I know the name of the person I am calling – I always feel spooked by an unfamiliar voice asking for me by name, and so I offer mine first and state my reason for calling. “Hi. I’m Gen Katz, your eighbor in District 4 and I am a supporter of Jean Quan”. I think of it as calling a friend with good news. And, I am not a robot!