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More phone banking - King Rat
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More phone banking

Thursday I participated in my third week of phone banking for Referendum 74. It was a very odd session.

My own dialer session called 141 people, but I actually had only 3 conversations with people and none of them were undecided. They were all strongly for marriage equality. With those folks, all we generally do is remind them that a vote to approve Referendum 74 is a vote for marriage equality. But not only were there no undecided people, there were no anti-marriage equality people. I had a lot of hang-ups, refused to answer, not homes, and wrong numbers. I think I had 3 people who were angry we had called them. Don’t you know my number is on the Do not call list? asked one lady. Nope, I don’t. See, lady, political calls don’t have to scrub people based on the do not call register. There’s this little thing called the First Amendment. Of course, I don’t tell them that or argue with them. I simply just ask Would you like me to put you on our do not call list? and then I do. Anyway, bummer about not talking with any undecided voters.

I also spent some time training a fellow next to me. He really had a hard time with it. In the role play before we started calling, I played an undecided callee. He really wanted to convince my character that marriage equality is a matter of civil rights and started to veer into trying to argue my character into voting for marriage equality. Which isn’t what we are trying to do. The phone bank script emphasizes the personal and emotional benefits of marriage for gays and lesbians. Rather than talk about fairness in hospital visitation rights, we’re supposed to talk about how visitation means a gay/lesbian family member gets to visit their loved one. It’s sometimes a subtle but important distinction. People sometimes think domestic partnerships are fair, for instance. We’ll tell them that no one dreams of a domestic partnership document signing, they dream of a wedding. The point, I think, is to make it personal and real. Even the prejudiced people, for the most part, don’t hate gays. They fear them, and we’re trying to make gay marriage just a bit less scary.

Anyway, dude to the left of me kept slipping into arguing. He also got off script early on too. Rather than tell people we’d like to talk with them about the freedom to marry, as the script notes, he started telling people we’d just like to ask a quick question about Referendum 74. Which doesn’t get the idea of the freedom to marry or even marriage equality burbling in callees’ heads at the beginning. Talking about a referendum tends to close off discussions before they start. And second, if they are leaning against, it’s gonna make them feel lied to when we do want to talk more than a quick question. Liked the kid, but he was making things hard for himself.

I won’t be doing the phone bank this week though. There’s a Sounders match on Thursday night. However, I’ll be participating in a training session on Wednesday so they can have me run future phone bank sessions. We’ll see how those go. I’m surprisingly good on the phone. I found this out when calling people on behalf of Ron Sims in 2004. I don’t know how good I’ll be at helping people do this though. As I’ve found out this summer, I’m not exactly a natural teacher.

crossposted from King Rat.

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