Political Campaigns Are Simply about People

Article excerpt

As a naive teenager, I believed political campaigns were a world of professionalism. I had envisioned a nice space with fancy desks where employees would be filing paperwork, interns shuffling to and from the coffee machine, and the campaign manager emerging from his glass-walled office to announce a major breakthrough in the polls, at which point the volunteers, interns and employees would clap and cheer, just as movies had depicted. But my first day of volunteering was not what I had expected.

During my first time volunteering, I was shocked that the calling center was just a small room with some tables and phones. There were no wooden desks with bustling interns or all-important campaign managers, but just some plastics tables with phones. The movies had tricked me.

Over the course of 13 weeks, I volunteered at a political campaign on Saturdays as a history assignment. I worked, listened and learned. Through it all, I discovered that politics is not an unearthly phenomenon but rather an accessible system made of real people who can make a real difference.

Campaigns are surprisingly simple, educational and all about people.

As soon as I walked in, I was immediately put to work. From phone banking and data entry to gluing on pieces to a board, I worked a variety of jobs. But what is so fascinating about campaigning is the simplicity of it all. The core of a campaign seems to be phone banking, data entry, canvassing, sign waving and simple speech-making. All of the core actions are relatively simple tasks, which make politics easily accessible.

I was fortunate enough to listen to and meet both candidates running in the race. The first time I met one candidate in a calling center, I was nervous and didn't want to embarrass myself. …