15 Jan Clinton Iowa Caucus Fellow: Post-50 Edition
When I first told an old friend of mine and former Bill Clinton staffer that I was coming to Iowa to work for Hillary he said, “It’s not glamorous.” This could be the understatement of the year. In fact, I have found sleeping in my flannel shirt to be quite efficient. When it is a high of 6 degrees in Davenport who the hell cares what you look like? Mascara and clean jeans are optional. Warm socks are not.
As a short recap, I have decided to take my 50plus empty nest self to Iowa for the month to work for the Hillary Clinton Iowa Caucus team — this “stuff of life” journey is indeed an adventure.
I have worked on political campaigns before—and by that, I mean hosting cocktail parties and fundraisers and mostly calling upon friends and friends of friends for support. Planning parties is easy—raising money from friends is easy…but being “on the ground” literally is an entirely different story.
It is actually a story I did not expect. I have been in Iowa for five days and I have probably called close to 500 people and knocked on 200 plus doors of complete strangers. (Note to self—next time someone calls or knocks on my door I promise, promise to be nice!) I have simply met the kindest (for the most part) and genuinely good people in Iowa.
On my first day of “knocking doors” (that’s what we call it) my face was so frozen I really could barely speak. I was trying to balance myself on ice covered driveways along with my official “Hillary” clipboard, lists and literature. I wiped out once flat on my ass —my hat went flying (and not in the good, Mary Tyler Moore beret toss way) along with some Hillary flyers—but I don’t think anybody saw me. I decided chasing the flyers down the street was a bad idea. All I did on “Day One” was pray that someone would answer the door and even better invite me inside—even for one minute of their time. Anything to be warm!
Guess what? Most of the strangers I have met this week not only opened their doors—they invited me into their homes—some for coffee—some for warmth—some because they felt sorry for me! I had no idea what Caucus Season in Iowa was all about. Folks in Iowa care who is going to the White House in November.
Despite the weather, despite my dirty flannel shirt, I am so incredibly inspired and energized by the voters here. Surprisingly, few people have slammed the door on my frostbitten face— most people I have met want to talk—talk about the issues—talk about their choice—talk because they care. They understand the magnitude and responsibility of being a registered American voter. Damn it is so contagious and downright “cool.”
I drove 15 miles (Siri misdirected me…I knew humans were still smarter than computers!) outside of Davenport to meet an amazing woman. She is suffering and struggling with breast and ovarian cancer— but she wanted to sign a “Commit to Hillary” card because she cares about her health care. She cares about her children.
I met a woman who ran to show me her Hillary sweatshirt that arrived in the mail that morning. (She forced her husband to pose for the picture). She needs more yard signs so neighbors on all sides can see.
I spoke to an 89 year old man tonight —he will be 90 years old March 7th. (That was my mom’s birthday, too). He promised he will be there Caucus Night February 1st—he has never missed one yet! He wants to live to see the first woman elected President of the United States. He made me smile.
For now, I am tucked away in my motel room grateful for being “on the ground” in Iowa…even more grateful for the strangers that have come into my life this week with an open heart and an open mind.
It seems as though everyone is bringing their own “stuff of life” to the caucus table in Iowa. We are working hard to get it done!