“Good Morning, I love you” type thing
by Mary W Maxwell
The federal election is July 2. Today is June 18. So you can use your knuckles to knock on doors for the next 13 days.
Yes there is a ban on broadcasting political campaigns during the three days before the election — in this case June 29, 30, and July 1, but door-knocking is not prohibited. Owing to the wintry weather and the early sunset it’s probably best to do your knuckling from 10am to 4pm.
So what is my Gumshoe-related point here? One of our dear Commenters said – in effect – All is lost; we have no hope, the government and media are united against us.
I can see where he’s coming from – everything’s discouraging these days. But surely there must be ways to get to talk to one’s neighbors, and set up some resistance so the world doesn’t go to hell in a handbasket.
I am no expert on this and it’s ridiculous for me to give advice (but since when did I let that stop me?). Wouldn’t it be good if all citizens would consider running for office? This year it’s too late to enter the race, but you can work for one of the candidates.
“I Am Campaigning for Joe Bloggs”
Afraid there’s no one on the list who’d be worthy of your time? No worries. I have in mind that you do this for your own sake, and simply “use” any candidate. Pick one, and drop by their office to ask for some handouts. (I mean literature, the other kind you can ask for later.)
So as not to scare the door-knockees, you should wear a large badge, readable through the “security” door. It would be best to wear a picture of your candidate on your lapel. (Or just put it on your rear end and moon it, I don’t care.)
Think you don’t know the issues? Not a problem. The person who comes to the door probably doesn’t know either. You can start out by saying “In regard to the election next month, I’d like to ask for your vote for …” and then point to the badge (or turn around ostentatiously).
Years ago I read the autobiography of Tip O’Neill, Man of the House (he was the Speaker in Congress). He said peeps told him that it mattered to them that he door-knocked and ASKED for their vote. So it helps to say specifically “I need your vote” or (pointing) “He, she needs your vote.”
Note: many cat and dog owners believe the most important thing in the world is their relationship with their pet, so if you see a cat or dog in the garden you should immediately show interest. Perhaps ask the owner “Will your cat be voting?” or say “Some issues in this election might affect this magnificent dog (canine, pooch, tail-wagger, puppy, bitch – maybe not bitch).
Many folks won’t be home. For them you need to have a letter, half-of-an-A4 size page, to leave in the mailbox, or sticking out under the welcome mat. “So sorry you weren’t here. But do email me at blah-blah.Bigpond.net. Dying to get your input before the election about any issue of concern.”
Oh, in the US it’s required that all advertisements for elections carry the name and residential address of the person who authorized it. I am not sure if Oz demands that, but since this exercise is all about you making contact, you’d want to give details. Please feel free to mention GumshoeNews. (In fact please don’t feel free to not mention it!)
The other handbill you should have on you is your stay-behind letter to anyone you actually spoke to. (All this is in addition to the flyer the pollie gave you, which is just a prop.) Your letter hardly needs to refer to the pollie you are “assisting.”
It could say “Dear Neighbor, we must do something about fracking before our water supply becomes a crisis.” Or “Thank you for talking to me today. I was worried about door-knocking as this is my first go. Please get in touch with me at blah-blah.”
Tweedledum and Tweedledee Are Not OK
Possibly the two big parties will provide you with street lists so you will know whose door you are knocking on. I mean you will know the name of the person and that he/she is a member of that particular party.
Maybe you prefer that method. No doubt it increases your chance of being invited in for a cup of tea if you greet them as fellow Lib or fellow Lab. (Labrador.)
However, if you’ve chosen to back a Greens or a One Nation or an Independent, you could chat about the two big parties suffering from the curse of “party discipline.”
Personally, I think party discipline is a great sin. Each elected representative should represent his constituency, not his party leader. Hear, hear!
Have a look at something Bob Brown wrote in 1987 when he served as a Greens senator in federal Parliament from Tassie. He had been a medical doctor and then became a conservation activist over the Franklin Dam affair:
“Under the caucusing system, the Liberal and Labor party make all their decisions before they go to Parliament. They are locked in those decisions. Every day of parliamentary life I see people voting against what they believe in, simply because they’ve been outvoted in the caucus room. I couldn’t tolerate that and that is why I am an Independent.” (quoted in Gloria Frydman’s Protestors)
Anyway, door knocking is just one of many possible ways for you to start something. Later, when they put a complete ban on assembly, you will think Hmm, maybe I could have tried speaking to strangers; maybe most people realize, deep down, that we’re all in this together.
— Mary Maxwell lives in Adelaide. She will hang around the steps of Parliament House on Monday, 20 June, from 12.45-1.00pm. She has short reddish hair and will have photoshopped herself down to a trim size 16. Be there or be square.
Photo credit: Heritageaction.com