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election anxiety countdown

94 Days: Sleep When It’s Over

2012 is the last year remaining to look at in this opening series-within-a-series reflecting on how I spent the 100 days leading up to the six elections of my voting-age life. That fall, I was more involved than ever. And we won the election. But I felt none of the exhilaration of 2008. In fact, I was quickly burning out.

I had been working for the past year in the role my old boss had in 2008 (see yesterday) at the same Obama-allied organization. With this promotion came more responsibilities and longer hours. If I was awake, I felt guilty any hour I wasn’t keeping up with politics and responding to emails and texts. I knew this was unhealthy and unsustainable, but the importance of the work, and the nonstop culture of the organization weighed on me.

The job of my team was to activate online audiences: email, websites, and outreach to bloggers and social media. Email was the biggest focus, and we’d had success with it in the years I’d been there. But by 2012 the inboxes our messages landed in were crowded with appeals from every cause, candidate, and nonprofit on earth in addition to the even-larger industry of commercial emails from retailers, restaurants, yoga studios, and the rest.  

Categories
election anxiety countdown

95 Days: Black & White

During the 100 days leading up to the election of 2008, I was in D.C. working long hours for an ally of Barack Obama, crafting graphics and websites in rapid response to every twist and turn in the election. As part of this work, our team went to the Democratic Convention in Denver, where I watched Obama accept the party’s nomination at Mile High Stadium. The Republican convention was in St. Paul, so I also had the chance to come home to Minnesota to support an outreach effort with bloggers covering the protests there. 

In the last weeks, my employer wanted everyone out of the D.C. office and knocking on doors in key states. I had begun dating a coworker around that time and joined her to knock on doors in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Her background in film, culture, and social justice had put her in charge of escorting two actors who had volunteered to help the campaign. Fans of quirky TV and horror movies might have known them, but on the side of the road in a Pittsburgh subdivision under overcast skies they were just two more earnest young men in Obama t-shirts trying to make a difference.