Knocking on Doors


My boyfriend and I were eating tacos while it poured rain a few weeks ago.  It was really, really pouring—puddles in the street—but we were warm, full and enjoying the previous night’s Conan.  A soaking wet puppy of a young woman raising money for the Human Rights Campaign knocked on our door.  We wrote her a check, gave her a grocery bag to keep her clipboard dry and sent her on her way after asking a billion questions.

HRC sends their canvassers door to door – to every door on a block – from inner SE Portland to the shmancy suburbs.  I was really impressed.  That’s certainly not how we do it in Alaska.  You might get shot, really, if you knock on the wrong door at the wrong time in Alaska.

When I have doorknocked for progressive causes, the organizers pre-screen the doors depending on the purpose of the canvas.  If you are identifying potential supporters, you might knock on a wider swath of doors, including known likely supporters and unidentified voters.  If you’re trying to turn out the vote immediately prior to an election, you only knock on the doors of known supporters.  Either way, you’re not too likely to knock on a completely hostile door.

The concept of sending someone out alone to knock on every door in town to ask for money for a controversial cause—that’s brave.  Presumably they are accomplishing some educational goals by exposing non-supportive people to their cause, but still.  She must get yelled at all the time. Well, we asked her.  She gets yelled at all the time.  But she was lovely. She said we made her night.  I think she made mine.

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