Thursday, October 16, 2008

Land o' Goshen! You don't vote?

I'm not the most efficient phone canvasser in the world. I'm easily distracted -- you can tell by my blog title -- and I'm always in search of a good story so I don't mind a long conversation.

Yesterday I was at Gary Trauner's sprawling offices in downtown Cheyenne. It's a big place with distinctive wallpaper: "Trauner for Congress" signs. The place has been buzzing the past few months as Gary strives to be Wyoming's first Democratic member of the U.S. House since the legendary Tino Roncalio from Rock Springs. Gary has drawn scores of volunteers and staffers to his cause, some from as far away as Oregon and Wisconsin. Most of us are Wyomingites, though, just volunteering our time to walk neighborhoods or to call potential voters on the phone.

Yesterday we were calling Goshen County. It's northeast of Cheyenne, a long rectangle like most of our 23 counties. Torrington, site of Eastern Wyoming College and the new prison, is the biggest town in Goshen. I believe that the town also has an ethanol distillery (have to check that out). Nearby is one of my favorite places, Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Other towns in Goshen include Yoder, Jay Em, Hawk Springs, Veteran, Lingle and LaGrange.

I called all over the county. Talked to a woman in Torrington who was undecided, said she still was making up her mind. She liked the idea that Gary was not a tax-and-spend Liberal. She said she'd vote for Gary if he was a veteran, as she believes that all people running for public office should be military veterans. Not a new idea. In Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers," you had to join the military and fight interstellar "Bugs" to be a citizen. (Historical note: The move, "Starship Troopers," was filmed in Wyoming. Coincidence? I think not.) I talked to this woman for awhile and finally asked if she was at least leaning toward voting for Gary and she said no, that she still was deciding. Very coy, this one.

Later, I talked to a gregarious woman in her sixties who admitted that she had never voted. At first, I thought she was pulling my leg. "Never voted?" She laughed and said it was true. I was flabbergasted and flummoxed. I don't think I've ever actually met any who's never voted. Her husband votes. I suggested she go along with him next time, as you can register at the polls in Wyoming. No, she wasn't going to start now. She like her life and not voting, she said, hadn't affected it much. "Just think how much better it would be if you voted," I said. She laughed again. You never know, I said, you could vote on Nov. 4 and win the lottery the next day. She laughed again, said she didn't play the lottery. I tried about everything in the book to get her out to the polls. "We don't care who you vote for -- you just have to get out and vote." That's only partially true. I wouldn't be calling if we didn't care who she voted for.

In the end, she admitted that she was too busy with her family and work and crocheting that she didn't have time for anything else. She sells her crochet work in Chugwater (Platte County -- another rectangle) and at her home gallery east of Chug in Goshen County. "So you're an artist?" She said that she might be, that she really likes crocheting. I should have asked her if she would crochet a "Trauner for Congress" wall hanging or doily (I know an artist who crochets earrings) but I didn't think of that until later. She did sound very proud of her work. I said I'd drop by her studio next time I was on the road between Chug and Hawk Springs. "You do that," she said. "Please go vote," I said. She thought not.


Anonymous said...

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victor said...

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