Sat. 3/21/09: Obama organizing petition signing drives for his stimulus plan (door-to-door, at malls, etc.)
In an apparent attempt to define creepy down, Obama for America - the successor to Barack Obama's campaign organization - is organizing a "Pledge Project Canvass", where the president's supporters will go door-to-door asking people to sign a pledge in support of the stimulus plan. They'll also be stationed at malls, stores and other places with large numbers of people. The training video is attached, and the pledge itself is deceptively simple:
* I support President Obama's bold approach for renewing America's economy
* I will ask friends, family, and neighbors to pledge their support for this plan
What you can do about this - in the short term - is to ignore them. Or, if you want to throw a monkeywrench into their plans, sign using a somewhat unknown fake name (I suggest Dale Gribble or Dr. Rusty Shackleford; if you want to get creative, come up with an anagram of some phrase). Alternatively, give them some literature of your own and maybe have your own petition they can sign handy. If you're in a pranking mood, I'm sure you can find some good literature; see if there's a cult deprogramming clinic in your area.
In the long term, things like this should be fought against through such means as asking politicians tough questions and publicizing their response.
Because, whether done through a nominally independent organization or not, U.S. presidents shouldn't be mobilizing their supporters to take down names, especially since in some cases those who don't sign might be almost as obvious as those who do.
The organizing tips (my.barackobama.com/page/content/pledgeprojectcanvassguide) include selecting "a central location in your walk area for people to meet before and after their walk... a list of high-traffic locations to target... maps of the larger area, the neighborhood and the specific streets each door-to-door canvasser is walking... Scripts... Camera
The goal of the Pledge Project Canvass is to obtain as many signatures as possible. Therefore, it is best to target areas that are dense with people and allow canvassers to easily talk to them all. Your group can canvass at public locations and by going door-to-door in neighborhoods... Public locations should be areas where people pass by regularly. Good canvass spots include grocery stores, sporting events, public transport stops, libraries, parks, college campuses, etc. It’s important to have several back up places in case the location is unsuccessful.
Their suggested job roles include:
Trainer - An experienced canvasser. Someone who can explain why this neighborhood and these people we’re contacting matter. Someone who can set and communicate a clear goal that will motivate and focus volunteers. Someone who can introduce the training video and answer the questions that follow it.
And, as part of the "welcome" procedure for volunteers, they suggest "[having] two people share their personal stories, addressing what is at stake for them personally to remind everyone the importance of the work they are doing."
And, it's never going to end:
Explain that this canvass is just the beginning for us; we will be working all year to mobilize people to take action and further President Obama’s plans.
Don't worry, you'll get a reward:
If possible, organize a potluck or an optional social gathering after the canvass