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For The First Time Ever

January 24th, 2008 · No Comments

 

For The First Time Ever

By Chris Kieff

This year I decided to take an active role in politics. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m not shy about my opinion. However, this year it turned into something that was truly gratifying, fulfilling and I believe unique in the world of politics.

I volunteered my time to one of the 527 organizations, in the online form I completed I mentioned that I’m a web designer and computer wiz. For several months I heard nothing from them, however, in early October they asked me if I was still able to donate my time. I did and after a brief online training course I began to volunteer my time.

What was unique about this is the fact that I was a volunteering as a Telephone Technical Support person for their other volunteers across the country. There were 3 or 4 dozen of us who were living in “Blue States” and weren’t needed on the ground. However we were able to volunteer our expertise to the other volunteers who needed to access the group’s databases of voters in the battle ground areas. If they had a problem logging in they would call an 800 number which was rerouted to rotate to one of the Tech’s home phones. When I was able to give them time I called in and turned my phone number on, when I was finished I turned it off.

From my perspective it was a very easy job- sit at home and wait for the phone to ring. The overwhelming majority of people calling were courteous, thankful and very happy to work with. Some were tired, or frustrated after a long day of knocking on doors, but they were always happy to have their computer problems fixed. It was an especially fulfilling experience for me because I was able to donate my particular skills and be of service to dozens of like-minded people across the US.

The Internet, call forwarding, rotating phone banks, all of the technology needed to make this program happen has been around for years. But what is different is the number people who are comfortable with computers and the internet to make it work. The 527 I worked with had over 70,000 volunteers nationwide. Some of us never met another volunteer face to face. But we all felt connected to each other via the web site and email.

Our guy lost the election, and we all commiserated, shared our pain, fears and anger. And we are all a little better for it. I believe that this has changed elections from now on and it will be for the better. People are better informed, have access to more information and can discuss topics with others to help shape their opinions.

Yes, there are those who will seek to misinform people. But I believe that just like eBay’s company motto, “We believe that most people are basically honest.” I believe that most people can spot a liar a mile away we will ignore the outlandish and ridiculous. Basically I believe in people and their ability to make an informed decision.

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