Citizenship

Working under the tent roof there was the reek of hot plastic. But the work had to be done.

When all was said and done, Senator Eugene McCarthy had sent his last campaign mailing to his most fervent supporters. And sent it also to the most generous party donors on a specific list provided that day. There were just over 20,000 letters. 20,105 according to the stamp count, leaving on the fold-up tables in the tent covered work area just 95 unlicked and on the volunteer tables. Piled next to the remaining blue George Washington 43cent stamps and a couple hundred empty letter sized envelopes with the Senator’s white hair flowing in his official photo with the return address on the left corner top. Under the tent no one thought to keep any un-mailed letters as souvenirs of their day’s work. Surely there were many indications that this mailing and the resulting inflow of cash would carry the Senator into the convention with renewed energy.

Under the work tent it was hotter than it had been when the work began, and there was still the reek of hot plastic.

. . .

Pizza. The offer of free pizza could always draft a sufficient body of undergrads to the activity room of the dorm. Even in Palo Alto where pizza was just about as plentiful as Starbucks and many students had deep enough pockets to buy all the pizza they could ever eat, pizza could attract a lot of volunteers. even if they didn’t want to admit it. So the hungry student with the stated aim to support the white haired candidate to stun the system and upset the moderates who had always failed the nation, lined up at the pizza boxes and to sit at the computer spaces. And if a volunteer had no interest in pizza, a selection from the tray of Bahn Mi would be an acceptable substitute for the pizza.

 

Emily, the party coordinator, explained that the correct password would access a party site. She explained that this page linked to a brainstorm page. Here they were to put their most creative contributions. They should check the targeted recipient’s age range.

All of these ideas would be passed to “national” in the effort of generate the identification of the most current issues that would spark outcomes including donations, phone bank volunteers, increased attendance at candidate and party meetings, donations and those kinds of things.

“You know we are going to have to work very hard in these last few weeks,” Emily said to them all as they prepared to leave the room. “They don’t expect us to make it.” Actually the effort was ended in just a few days.

A tan T-shirt with the candidate’s name and picture was provided to all who attended.

. . .

We wondered if there would be another election. How could it be held? There were no photos of the candidate for obvious reasons, as explained by the blip-text. We would find voting convenient as it was coming in the same form as had this message. All votes should be counted and the results would be sent after 25 hours. Check your mailbox.

Proper log-in is, of course, required. Code and finger ID. Blip-text gave 60 seconds for voting before closing so citizens should be ready. 100% participation is expected. Since the terror bombings of the recent months and the subsequent travel restrictions, all votes would be electronic and would indicate citizen participation. Failure to vote would indicate non-citizenship, which is illegal.

The apartment smelled of marijuana. At least we could still find some dope out there.

Because our vote was required, and would give away some information that could reveal too much, we were living in a moment of heightened purpose. It had been awhile since we struggled to avoid the new reality. Mostly people disappeared after trying to put an end to the organizations said to be watching to protect the citizens. It didn’t matter.

We slipped on our rubber gloves, filled the canisters and walked casually with our backpacks to the corner.