A heartfelt hey y’all from the Barack Obama office in Winchester, Virginia. Folks around here are just about the most “Pro-America” Americans you could find. Some of them are also totally committed to switching this state from red to blue for the first time since 1964.
Our office is on West Cork Street in downtown Winchester, a Shenandoah Valley town know first as a base of Confederate operations during the hallowed War of Northern Aggression and second for its superior apples. It’s a very pretty place, brick and surviving alright, proficient in their “yes, sir”/”no, ma’am.”
The Obama team here is comprised of two young and very dedicated field officers, Jason and Alexandra, and a solid core of consistent volunteers who have been coming in after work on a regular basis for months and have now taken vacation leave to help coordinate phone calls, canvassing, and the get out the vote effort. Bethany is a former Peace Corps volunteer getting her master’s degree at Shenandoah College who has stepped in to coordinate all the volunteers at the office. Theresa left her five teenagers in Maryland several weeks ago to come and negotiate staging locations throughout the county. They’re both working non-stop, often past midnight, often at the expense of a shower or a decent meal, cheerfully. They’re amazing.
We also get a stream of local volunteers, many of them coming in for the first time to help with this last campaign push, and then some more seasoned parties down from DC on the weekends. Most of the volunteers I’ve met so far are not at all what you think of as the typical Obama support base. They are middle aged working women and high school students, measured in conviction, and really sticking their necks out to support Senator Obama in this community.
When I got here last Friday, Theresa told me a great story to welcome me to western Virginia.
Last week, a gentleman volunteer in his 70s was standing right outside our office holding a canvassing packet and modeling a bit of Obama bling, when a young man in his pickup truck idled up to him with his hunting riffle pointed out the window.
“Think you’re votin’ for the wrong team, old man,” he said.
Not to be swayed by the perspective offered on the upcoming election, our volunteer whipped out his .357 Magnum and aimed it right at the trucker.
“I doubt that, young man,” he said and headed through the doors of the campaign office. The trucker drove away.
After a bit of pacing and fuming, Theresa gingerly approached the valiant volunteer and asked if he had a license to carry the handgun, to which he replied that he did have a concealed weapon license, yes indeed.
“Well then, sir,” Theresa said, “while you’re in the office, would you go ahead and conceal it?”
Right. Virginia is for Lovers Handguns.
For some more citified tales of the election in Virginia, look to the New Yorker. A couple of issues ago, they ran “The Appalachian Problem” and, not that any self-respecting citified New Yorkerphile would miss it, you should know that David Sedaris continues to breathe and write, and so you must read “Undecided.” For my part, I’ll try to come up with a few more stories in my time here up to the election. Now, back to the database!