I realize that Christopher, Brendan, and Eli have already written about phone-banking for R-74, but I just thought I'd mention quickly what drove me to go have those difficult conversations with strangers on the phone last night. Yes, of course, I'm passionate about marriage equality. But I'm passionate about lots of things I don't volunteer for. There are two specific things that pushed me out the door and into the phone bank:
1. This piece by Paul, which explained a recent poll showing that just having a conversation about marriage equality vastly increases the chance someone will support it. "All together, two-thirds of voters who have had a conversation about marriage equality support it... In fact, support of gay marriage over the course of the poll increased from 52 percent at the beginning of the call to 55 percent at the end; the poll itself served as a conversation."
2. This post by Eli about comments from Slog reader Laura, who asked if phone-banking might be a bit emotionally easier for straight people:
I wonder if we can't call on our straight allies to make these phone calls. Listening to this kind of bull is so emotionally draining for many gay people... Straight people, please stand up. Volunteer to join the phone bank and call other people. When you have something that you know is special and you realize that not everyone has access to that special thing, compassionate humans offer a hand up to the others.
Straight people: This is about privilege. It must be acknowledged that however compassionate and empathic we are, we enter into this fight in a position of power. Maybe, like me, you sometimes wonder how you can best work for justice from a position of power? This is how. You take the privilege you have, and you use it to gain allies. Might it make you uncomfortable? Yes, totally, sure. But that discomfort, while real, is minimal when compared with actually having less rights. This is a discomfort you can bear, and should.