Sunday, October 5, 2008; B08
Voters and non-voters alike should know that it is not pleasant to knock on the doors of strangers. I do not like to interrupt tired people at dinnertime or on their precious weekends, but it is the only way I know of to help my country at a time of great adversity. My volunteerism has come as a result of a surprising surge of middle-age patriotism, pure and simple, which requires a great deal of courage and time away from my family.
Which is why I have been appalled at how I have been treated when I knock on doors.
Though I am always apologetic about the disturbance and extremely polite, some people have yelled at me, slammed doors in my face and treated me with unveiled contempt. One woman who looked absolutely terrified when I introduced myself shut her door -- then locked and deadbolted it -- closed her garage doors and raced from window to window to make sure they were secured. At 5-foot-5 and a size 4, standing there holding lists of registered voters, I realize I must look extremely threatening. When I am treated disdainfully, I walk away wondering: Are these people unkind because they have different political views than I do or are they just unkind to begin with?
So I would like to make a plea this election season: Please, when someone knocks at your door to discuss your vote, be courteous.
We are all volunteers, doing what we think is best for our country. You may not wish to divulge your choice -- "refused" is one of the boxes we can check on our forms -- but please let us know this in a polite manner. There is no need to be rude.
The work we do is hard and unpaid. A smile and friendly word from a stranger would be greatly appreciated.
Eleanor Herman Dyment
I'm sure you've heard of the National Do Not Call registry. There are now more than 150 million phone numbers in America on that list - people who don't want to receive intrusive phone calls from marketers. Why would you think they want you knocking on their doors?