“We’re Doing God’s Work Here” : the Last Days with Volunteers for Hillary

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Martha, Megan, Bjorn, Michael… They all came in the last hours before the elections at the Culver Studios, in Culver City, a movie studio where the Hillary Clinton’s campaign rented some space for the volunteers to make calls to get people to vote, until the last minute. When, outside, studio employees were loading trucks to make movies, the volunteers were packed inside, fed and given caffeine, to “make a difference”, and “hopefully, history”. Or rather, “herstory”, like Hillary Clinton’s supporters like to say.

“Every single call can make a difference, we’re doing God’s work here”, said Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, who came by during the weekend to motivate the troops.

You could feel the anxiety among some, but most were more than hopeful, already planning for some celebration on Tuesday night. “Hi, I’m a volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, we’re looking for some volunteers to help us out tomorrow in Nevada and Arizona” (both battleground states), would say the typical supporter, following a script written by Hillary’s staff. “We’ll stay there overnight, and celebrate”, some said.

The lucky ones who convinced one person to agree to meet at 5 A.M. to jump on a bus to Las Vegas or Phoenix got to ring the bell in the room. Everyone would then clap their hand and cheer enthusiastically. A teenage boy was congratulated as he managed to get three persons to commit to the 5-to-7-hour trip to the desert.

The stories told among volunteers, and sometimes with people over the phone, were quite different that one may hear in the media. Is it because California is so predominantly democratic? As I asked Martha Lorena Guillen, a woman whose parents immigrated from Nicaragua and, for that reason, who’s very afraid of fascism tendencies, she told me about Pantsuit Nation, this Facebook secret group where “only positive stories” about voting for Hillary are published. “Be careful, she told me as I started reading members testimonies, it’s addictive”. Indeed, it was. On Saturday, the group had one million members. Two days later, it shows 2.383.360 members.

The group, created by (apparently young mom) Libby Chamberlain, is a giant tribute to Hillary Clinton and what she is proud to wear for a long time, pantsuits. The goal is to share genuine stories and get members to vote dressed in pantsuits, and post pictures as such.

“My six-year-old son asked me recently if I would run for President ‘next year’. He offered to be my assistant. For him it is a given that a woman could be the best candidate for President”, told Carmen, posting a picture of her and his son.

“I am with her, because she has fought for me, as a person with preexisting conditions, as a woman in the professional world, as a person that is pro-choice, as the living aunt to two mix raced children adopted by my sister and her wife, as a resident of the Saint Louis metro area, with the highest murder, crime, & STD rates in the nation, as an environmentalist who wants to leave the world better off for my niblets (aka nieces & nephews), and last but not least, as a NASTY WOMAN !”, wrote Laura, from Saint Louis, Missouri.

“My best friend and I are first time millennial voters in college and we’re so proud to say we’re nasty women ! HRC 2016 !” said Angelis.

Even if there are also some comments and postings from men, a great majority of people posting seem to be women, and many of them with foreign origins.

“I voted early for my parents who are Mexican immigrants. They came here and built businesses. They didn’t take people’s jobs, they CREATED jobs, explains Cecilia. Despite being treated badly because of their accents and for being different, they persevered to provide my brother and I the best future possible”.

Then, there are also the women from conservative backgrounds, like this Texan lady who said she couldn’t post that she just voted for Hillary on her own Facebook page, “because of my friends there”, but was happy to share her experience on the secret-not-so-secret-now group.

The general feeling, out of these few days spent with supporters and out of reading the Facebook page they adore, is that it really is the year of women, in America. Whether they win or not.

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