Canvasser talks to man, man gets involved

by Matthew Hall—Missouri

The other day I experienced an unexpected surprise on turf.

I was telling a gentleman about how 48 million Americans have no health care when he stops me and says, “Yeah, but most of them are young and don’t want health care.” This sent a flag up in my head because most people that would think he wasn’t a person who would support the issues we support. But I looked him straight in the eye anyway and said to him, “Sir I can tell you from talking to people at their doors, that is not quite true.”

He looked me over and after a dramatic pause said, “maybe you are right.” I then explained about becoming a member of Working America and the strength in numbers power it give to working people to make change. He stopped me after this and said, “yeah, but it will not do any good. The politicians will not listen.” I firmly told him, “Sir, when we get enough people they are going to have to listen.”

We looked at each other for a minute once again, then he finally said to me “maybe you are right.” He joined as a member right there and gave a voluntary dues payment.

It was inspiring to me that I found one of my biggest supporters of the night in someone that at first sight didn’t appear to be interested in what I had to say.

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Another reason to fix our health care crisis

by Kyle Erickson—Minnesota

Usually at my doors I bring positive energy and people are usually excited for progressive change during out conversation. I was surprised at the lack of enthusiasm from one woman with whom I spoke.

She began signing up when I told her about fighting for affordable health care for everyone. After we spoke a bit I realized why she was motivated by health care. She is badly sick, and has been struggling to live off her disability claim for the last few years. Her disability is being revoked because once she had seen a doctor she wasn’t supposed to be seeing.

Why would they do this to a woman whose family is watching her pass? We really need to change our health care system for people like this woman. Merry Christmas.

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Engaging my generation

by Kim Andrews—Pennsylvania

A young guy on turf approached me and my sides partner after I had talked to him earlier that night. He waved us down about twenty minutes after signing up. He said he had read through the pamphlet I left and wanted know what more he could do to help our organization. The three of us talked for a while about the importance of these issues and how easy it is for our generation to get sidetracked into consumerism and mainstream media, but how sometimes we should take the time to get involved with the things that actually matter. I told him that he could sign up to volunteer, and he even expressed interest in working for us. I left him all the information he needed and I really hope he joins our staff soon!

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New Jersey families count on Working America

by Andy Hartwig—Pennsylvania

No one enjoys working on a Sunday morning, but getting Paid Family Leave passed in New Jersey would make my lack of sleep completely worth it. It was about 2 in the afternoon when I decided it was about time to use the bathroom. I walked into a laundromat on the main drag of Collingswood, NJ. No luck with the bathroom, but a man across the street, working on his truck, asked me if there was anything I needed. Of course, I did. I needed his help by writing a letter to the NJ State Assemblypersons Greenwald and Lampitt in support of Paid Family Leave. He nodded his head, took my pen and began to write. He never said anything, except at the end when he added “I hope this will help.” He walked across the street back to his truck and his spouse. I looked down at the letter he handed me and began to read a truly heartfelt account of his personal struggle and his need for paid family leave.

In the letter, he explained that his wife had been losing kidney function over the past several years. She was about to need dialysis. There was nothing more important to him than the ability to take time off from work as she fought through kidney failure and looked for a donor of a healthy kidney. As I finished reading, I saw his spouse had joined him by his side. He kissed her cheek and yelled across the street “Keep fighting for us, we’re counting on it!”

I assured him that we most certainly will.

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Failing our elders

by Jacquea Olday—Pennsylvania

Today was my first day of canvassing the community with Working America. I knocked on my first door and met this elderly woman who has gone through so many problems with her income and health insurance. While she was signing up to become a member, she told me about how she takes over 20 pills a day, how her husband has problems with his health and how they are barely getting by. She was almost in tears as she told me about how she sometimes has to decide between her medicine and her groceries. It’s crazy in this nation how such bad things happen to the elderly, people who are disabled, people of color, immigrants and our soldiers. And what’s worse than that is how nothing is ever said about it.

I am happy that Working America is doing this because Americans and especially our elderly deserve the basic things (like health care, like the ability not to have to choose between medicine and groceries)—but we don’t have it. And there’s a problem with that.

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Registering to vote for the first time

by Andrea Townsend—Oregon

Last night I was having a hard time getting folks to take my clipboard. It was getting late, but one elderly man invited me into his home and offered me a seat at his kitchen table. He was in his sixties and explained to me that he’d just gotten out of the hospital after recovering from pneumonia, was on disability and can barely afford to pay for his prescriptions. “Thank you for doing this work,” he said as he slowly printed his name on the member sheet. I asked if he was registered to vote. He looked at me sadly and said “Hon, when I was about eighteen years old I went joyriding with some friends and ended up with a felony. So I can’t vote.”

“Sure you can!” I said and handed him a registration card. “In Oregon once you’ve served your time, you can register.”

I wish someone had told him 40+ years ago that he has the right to vote. But I am glad that I met him. The experience illustrated to me why we need to be out on the streets, letting folks know that they have the right to participate and to use their political power to make a difference in the world.

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America is ready for change

by Gregory Jacobs—Missouri

My post tonight is more about the general acceptance of the working families platform we are out campaigning on. I have been getting wide acceptance in the form of members joining up and contributing voluntary dues payments. Overall I am getting a lot of support and what is an out call for change in the American economic and political landscape!

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Health care catch-22

by Matt Hall—Missouri

I was canvassing the other day when I came across a older lady that was sitting on her front porch. She was hooked up to a oxygen tank. When I started to talk to her about the issue of health care she started to open up about what has been happening to her. She told me that she has just been kicked off of Medicaid because her husband makes too much money. She then went on to tell me how her husband was just getting fired from his job because of medical reasons. So in the end, they could get health care because of his job and he couldn’t keep his job because of health care. I don’t get how we could let that happen.

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Losing it all to outsourcing

by Ashley Johnson—Pennsylvania

I talked to a man who had been working as a machinist but who recently lost his job due to outsourcing when the company decided to set up shop in Mexico. He and his family were put in serious jeopardy, left to struggle with a budget in deficit and very unhappy about it!

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What’s wrong with this picture?

by Keesha Coleman—Pennsylvania

I knocked on a retired woman’s door the other night, who told me that her dad is also retired and that they have to live together in order to survive. They cannot afford to live on their own with the money they have. Both of them worked their entire lives and are now struggling to maintain, now that they are retired. Their story touched me because these people don’t have the means to support themselves, after YEARS of working! Where are the retirement benefits? Why should we all have to work, shedding blood, sweat and tears, with nothing left to show for it, when we’re not able to work anymore? It just isn’t right.

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