Getting on the bus, getting out the vote

Opinion: Columns

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

What a difference four years make. In 2008, I jumped in early to help elect Barack Obama. I put signs in my front yard, and I hosted a call party in my home.

I also spent time phone banking in Oak Park and Chicago. And I convinced my husband Kevin to drive to Indianapolis to knock on doors for our candidate. On Election Day, I "manned" the Austin el stop to "get out the vote," thanking folks who did it.

All of it was thrilling.

Now, four years later, and with our middle-class family battered and bruised by the economic downturn, like so many of us, I've been in a holding pattern, waiting for my malaise to pass.

In mid-October it did, when I got on the Democratic Party of Oak Park's bus to Dubuque, Iowa to get out the vote in 2012.

On that bus trip, in the seats surrounding me were 55 other local Dems. Some were loyal politicos from Oak Park. Others were newbie volunteers from the surrounding suburbs, including the West Side of Chicago.

It was a sea of diversity, a melting pot of people interested in standing up for issues and a country they hold dear to their heart.

Mid-morning, while on the bus, we volunteers from Illinois were using cellphones to call potential volunteers in Wisconsin to get out that vote. For those who did it, that was time well spent.

In Dubuque, in teams of three, we spread out into the bluffs of a town on the Mississippi River where bald eagles nest. For about four hours, we knocked on doors in working class neighborhoods to register Iowans on the spot to vote, encourage them to vote early by mail or, on Election Day, to get to their favorite polling place.

With detailed address logs, we meandered up and down those hilly streets. When face-to-face with a Iowan voter, the simple act of telling them why a person like me from Oak Park would commit to a 12-hour day to tell them why they should re-elect Barack Obama was empowering.

Personally, I was on their stoop to talk about the potential rejuvenation of jobs, why I thought Obamacare should continue, and my concerns about the appointment of right-leaning supreme court justices should Romney be elected. Education is another core issue for me, as is the de-funding of Head Start.

The next day, when I called my 92-year-old mother, a staunch Republican, and member of the Christian right, she wanted to know how it went, and this time she listened. As a senior citizen, she is concerned about the state of Medicare and Social Security.

Did I sway her vote? Absolutely not. But this time, the senior citizen who religiously tunes in to Fox News, didn't tune me out.

At stake for me, a visually-disabled, under-employed, middle-age working mom with one kid in college and another one in search of a job, is absolutely everything. So I got back on the bus (literally and proverbially) two weekends in a row. It is not only my right, it is a privilege.

To get involved, contact Bob Haisman, or 708-997-1993.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

39 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: October 30th, 2012 8:58 AM

tick tock --- yes in 7 days we will no longer be faced with the threat of a Romney president. The mere prospect of that has been a 6 year long national nightmare.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 10:31 PM

Ray re your post about President Obama -- I replied that your statement was "Incredibly vicious" and your accusing the President of the United States of treason should move you to hanging your head in shame. I did not slander you with any vile names.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 10:17 PM

@JBM and Jackie I question the presidents actions in office and the best you can do is call me vile names. Why don't you try to provide real reasons to support President Obama, so we will all be enlightened. The only reason I can see is that there are no real reasons to support four more years, of blaming others, failed policies, over regulation and failure to protect American lives. Do you find it strange that the first explanations of Libya was delivered by Axelrod. He is from the re election side and has no real voice for the administration. This is a bad bunch of people and hopefully we are about to lance the boil.

8 Days Until The National Nightmare Is Over  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 10:07 PM

Tick Tock .......


Posted: October 29th, 2012 10:03 PM

Ray-its not white senior citizens, its not Romney supporters, not Fox watchers or even anyone who questions President Obama--could it be...YOU, yes, that's it, it's you! To paraphrase Dean Wormer, "angry, hateful and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 12:56 PM

"The treasonous acts of President Obama....!" An incredibly vicious quote by Ray. The definition of treason is "The offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one's country or of assisting it's enemies in war." Ray, hang your head in shame for your statement about the President of the United States.

People First  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 12:31 PM

I just check the title Ray Simpson referenced earlier. Sad to learn Ray was talking about some dumb sci-fi movie about people in the future being used a food source to combat overpopulation. Ray, you gotta get out more! Turn off that tv and rejoin the human race. Don't let the parade pass you by.

People First  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 12:21 PM

No hate in my heart for any of God's children, Ray. Can you honestly say the same? Very pleased to see that you have corrected the slight you may not have intended when referring to President Obama. I'm not familiar with your reference to Solyent Green but assume it holds some significant importance to you. If the book offers a positive message about trust and acceptance; I may give it a read.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 12:12 PM

@ People First - lets see you hate all white senior citizens, All Romney supporters, all FOX watchers and anyone who questions President Obama. Your universe of acceptable citizens seems to get smaller and smaller. Solyent Green anyone?

People First  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 11:54 AM

There's no argument to win, Ray. You're desperately hoping to return to an ugly era when women and minorities were excluded from government and grey faced men believed they were entitled to rule the land. Thankfully, people fought back against the system and refused to accept the prejudice and injustice you still embrace. The reality is that your time has passed and today only the lies of Fox News provide comfort for your brain. Tomorrow means freedom, justice and equality for all. See ya!

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 29th, 2012 7:40 AM

People first is like the kid in a debate who believes he has scored a point by pointing out that his opponent's sox don't match. He will never win an argument and just cannot understand why.


Posted: October 29th, 2012 3:16 AM

PF - It's pretty obvious liberalism has reduced you to the hate-filled mental midget you are and further proven by your pathetic bs psycho-babble profiling.


Posted: October 29th, 2012 2:28 AM

Pardon me, Tom, but you've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a damn what you think.

People First  

Posted: October 28th, 2012 11:46 PM

Tom, no sense in trying to make sense of nonsense. Best guess is this rj character is a deeply troubled and angry older white male. That's who represents the majority of Romney supporters. Most likely an individual who's spent most of their adult life existing at the bottom of the barrel and always seeks to blame for such sad circumstances on others rather than accepting personal responsibility. Fox News feeds him a steady diet of hate and misinformation and it soaks right in.


Posted: October 28th, 2012 10:01 PM

RJ, after readying your posts it is rather obvious that you are an idiot. If you have never read the A Confederacy of Dunces, I suggest you do because you seem like the protagonist in the book based on what you write.


Posted: October 28th, 2012 12:09 PM

Interesting - So upon your revelation re O/O up 3 points via Fox News were you having one of those racist, paranoid, biased, non-objective moments there? Were you wearing one of those tinfoil hats? Just two days ago you were claiming O up by 5!! Fool you once- but TWICE?! -

Interesting theories  

Posted: October 28th, 2012 6:41 AM

@Ghost, Fox News even has Obama up by 3 in Ohio. Also, Ohioans do not declare political party at voter registration and only do so at the polls. And the constant attempt to see voter fraud everywhere just sounds racist and paranoid.

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: October 27th, 2012 4:58 PM

What a great story! Thanks for sharing Deb, it's very inspiring.

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park   

Posted: October 27th, 2012 4:54 PM

Theories, to you & your mouthbreathing lefty pals: Ohio is to even. The polls showing Mr Obama ahead have been using flawed 2008 turnout assumptions. Ohio has 350K less Dems than 2008. The only way Mr Obama wins Ohio is if Dems do what they always do, which is to commit vote fraud. They've started already, & they're likely doing it in Iowa too.

M from Oak Park  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 4:06 PM

Ray seems to think he knows exactly what happened in Libya. However, I don't believe that you know the truth. What is your source: the very biased and non-objective Fox News?

FunFacts from Oak Park  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 3:48 PM

Lets argue with facts....1. The "most liberal" rating came from a vote by magazine editors, who said the same thing when Kerry was running for President. 2., a site created by political scientists that plots lawmakers on a liberal-conservative scale based on their voting patterns, calculated there were nine senators more liberal than Obama in the (2008) Congress.

Interesting theories  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 3:40 PM

Apparently, some of the members of the Tinfoil Hat Society didn't get the memo that Obama is up in Ohio by 5. You'd all better be knocking on doors in Cuyahoga County this weekend if you want Romney to have a chance. Cleveland would LOVE to hear your crazy.


Posted: October 26th, 2012 3:40 PM

There is no indication O ever renounced these long-held beliefs. As senator he was rated farther left than self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders. O believes the Govt exists not to protect liberty but as workers'vanguard protecting them from capitalism which he said "never worked."His adm's every endeavor foments of cultural,economic & political formulas of Marxist bent. Unemplmt # does not include those stopped looking & not collecting, 23M w/o jobs,food stamps up to 49M-up 15M. Strong?!


Posted: October 26th, 2012 3:35 PM

Where can i get a Nobama t-shirt?


Posted: October 26th, 2012 3:25 PM

Observer, O's maturation was influenced by Marxists throughout. B.Sr advocated communal ownership of major means of production. O spent HS under tutelage of communist agitator Frank Marshall Davis-"a decisive influence."In collage O dallied w/Marxist professors & described by classmate John Drew as an ardent "Marxist-Leninist." O's selection of Trinity espoused doctrines more Marxist than Christian. As a community organizer he partnered with communist terrorist Bill Ayers ACORN & other radicals

11 Days Until The National Nightmare Is Over  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 2:09 PM

Tick Tock ..........


Posted: October 26th, 2012 1:41 PM

@RJ, stop lying! Obama is not a Marxist and there is nothing to support your claim. You contort the truth based on unsupported facts. Some people thought the world would come to a preverbal end if Obama was elected. The economy was on the verge of a depression in 08. Now unemployment is decreasing, housing market is improving, the stock market doubled, and capitalism is strong. Have a serious discussion instead of trying to scare people with lies. Stop trying to scare people with your delusions.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 12:29 PM

@ Mick The original 9/11 attack was a wake up call to all of us. Who would have anticipated that attack? The Benghazi attack was preceded by 2 earlier attacks one where a rpg was used to blow a hole in the embassy wall. What happened there is not the core of my argument - The treasonous acts of President Obama are! Our embassy people died after they were denied the help they requested. Even if the help arrived late or failed to resolve the problem the effort to send them would be some solace. Obama and company did nothing!!! They didn't even try!!! Then they lied to cover up their failure. WMD was not a cut and dried issue. Many in the world believed that they existed. A wrong evaluation is a far cry from the blatant lies we were told to cover facts for the benefit of an election.


Posted: October 26th, 2012 10:55 AM

Observer- Please observe that O was raised in Marxist ideology, believes in it today as he surrounds himself with people of like mind in his adm. This is fact & it should be feared. Perhaps you should research something about this man before endorsing him again & endangering the rest of us again. Transparency was always there. Some of us saw right through him & understood what he meant by fundamental transformation. Some of you were too blinded by the aura that wasn't there but wished was.

Mick Belker  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 10:41 AM

Ray, If you could vote for GWB after he ignored 9/11 warnings, you just don't care about our nation. The event was a sad chapter in our history and should not be a political sledge hammer. The lies that emanated from the Bush White House to start the war in Iraq are valid political issues and he should have been denied votes for his base dishonesty. I bet your love for Hillary clinton is a new development.

Run Jessie Run  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 10:07 AM

Perhaps Obama is urging early voting to beat out the next shoe to drop. Kinda reminds of JJ, JR. running to the Mayo clinic before indictment for campaign fraud. And honestly Ray, do you really think any of these sheep even care?

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 9:22 AM

If you can vote for Obama after his handling of Libya, you just don't care about our nation. The event was a sad chapter in our history and should not be a political sledge hammer. The lies that emanated from the Obama White House, to cover his butt, are valid political issues and he should be denied votes for his base dishonesty. Good people have had their careers ruined to save face for Obama, Hillary may be one of the casualties. I would not chance having Bubba pissed at me, a lesson Obama may learn very soon. from Oak Park  

Posted: October 26th, 2012 8:48 AM

It is sad, logic and serious discussion has given way to fear mongering, lies and name calling. In 2004 the fear was terrorism. In 2008 it was Obama. Some fears that Obama the US will us to socialism, the stock market will crash, gun rights will be taken away, etc. In 2012 capitalism is still strong, the economy is expanding, unemployment is falling, the stock market doubled, gun rights are strong, as is evident is the mass killings this past year. STOP THE FEAR MONGERING, LIES AND NAME CALLING!

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park   

Posted: October 25th, 2012 10:56 PM

Ms. Whyche, I don't allow myself to be placed in a group, & won't let you try to put me in one. I'm one of the 100%. I'm an American. No hyphen. No percentage. And I have news for you...we're already in a free fall off the cliff, & the fall will accelerate if Mr Obama is re-elected, & accelerate faster if Mike Madigan remains Speaker of the Illinois House. While everyone has the right to travel across state lines to push their agenda, Illinoisans have zero credibility on anything political.


Posted: October 25th, 2012 5:11 PM

Hard to fathom how anyone who has reached the chronological age of reason can, after 4 years, not see that we are already off the cliff,in a free fall, (thanks to those who fall for anything "free")& ready to crash & burn. We all have the same concerns mentioned but another 4 years of O will be deja vu & take us to the point of no return. You're on the wrong bus-it's not too late to get a transfer.


Posted: October 24th, 2012 10:24 PM

"Ship Of Fools" meet "Bus Of Fools".

Rosemary Wyche  

Posted: October 24th, 2012 9:56 PM

If the Ghost of Zuppke happens to be one of the 47% I hope she/he will enjoy the free fall off the cliff if Romney is elected. If it will make you (the Ghost)feel better, you will NOT be alone. Thanks Deb for your article, which I enjoyed, and your efforts to get the President re-elected.


Posted: October 24th, 2012 9:06 AM

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and doing such great work. Getting people involved--no matter your political preferences--is just good citizenship.

Ghost of Zuppke from Oak Park  

Posted: October 24th, 2012 8:34 AM

Deb, you really should take more after you mother. This idea of people from the Corrupt State of Illinois travelling to other states to tell them how to vote is as laughable as anything ever conceived by the left. Sure, Iowans want graft, lies about videos, multi-billion $$ debt, union thuggery, class, they're smarter than that. Please do us all a favor & turn the bus toward Springfield & actually try to accomplish something good here. It'll give you purpose when Obama loses.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments