Last night was the kick-off meeting for our local OFA group. It was part "hail, hail the gang's all here" and part "welcome new neighbors." Interestingly, with the exception of the two field reps from OFA, all the attendees were women. The field reps gave information about how the campaign will be interfacing with the volunteer group, and what kinds of support and interaction we can expect from them. There are some changes from 2008, all for the good.
The most interesting part of the evening for me was when we went around the room and each attendee explained why she was there. OH! The anger at what is happening in America. The need to protect what we've got, and get back what we've lost. The need for this election to propel us forward and not return us to, as the conversation went"...The 1950's"...."No, the 1850's"..."You're both wrong, the 5th century."
The next thing was how hungry these women were for direct, factual information. It appears that a lot of people on the right can spew lies with lots of numbers and fake facts: the attendees wanted fact sheets that they could memorize so they could speak truth to the lies. (And certainly, we'll be passing out that data.)
Why all women? It seemed a little odd to me. I know men working on the campaign, and we certainly had men involved in 2008. After thinking on it overnight, I have come up with a few theories. First, women are angry. Especially women of a certain age as we fought for contraceptive rights and abortion rights so many years ago and can't bear to see that work undone. As an aside, I personally remember trying to get birth control many years ago and being told I had to bring my husband with me. (Yes, a LONG time ago.) While men are involved in the "get pregnant" process, and for some reason men will say "we're pregnant", I don't buy it. Men don't have the physical connection to pregnancy that women do. While they can believe in equal rights and even get "sympathy pains" - they don't know from morning sickness, swollen feet, the cravings, the hormonal fluctuations....and THEY are never in danger of losing a job because they're pregnant, nor sidelining a career because a potential boss thinks you will get pregnant.
Second, it may just be that the women who came to the organizing meeting last night are more interested in the beginning stages of organizing and planning. When the invitation was sent, there was an option to attend the meeting or ask to be contacted later for phone banks, lit drops and all the other boots on the ground activities. More than 50 people asked for "contact me later" and there were people of both genders on that list.
Finally, it doesn't matter. We had a great crew turn out last night. A lot of passion, a lot of drive and enthusiasm. Others will join us as we move forward. Are YOU in? If you want to get involved now, click here and sign up.