Realize the President has done something that makes you angry. Very angry. Read what a lot of other angry people have written, mostly from websites and blogs. Quickly formulate your own voice and opinions. Start to listen when a presidential candidate from Vermont echoes your thoughts. Start to consider yourself a Dean supporter. Register on many Internet sites like Dean for America, Generation Dean, Blacks for Dean (even though you’re not black), and the Dean Defense Forces.
Wear buttons stickers loudly on your clothing and your winter coat. Expect annoyed looks from many, but quiet nods from others. Allow strangers to talk to you, a proud representative of Dr. Dean. Adopt a salesman’s rapport with them, catering your answers to their questions and always staying positive.
Learn the greetings (He’s our man! and Go Howard!) and the chants (Hope not fear! and D-E-A-N take our country back again!). Discover your own credentials (Yep, I’ve liked Dean since last February) and stand in awe of others’ credentials (You flew here all the way from Berkley, California!?)
Travel to New Hampshire during your brief vacation. Carpool with other Dean supporters, of course, to save money and fuel. Pretend you enjoy hearing them talk about their work for other candidates in previous elections (Bradley, Tsongas, McGovern), even though you would really rather just listen to your iPod. Clarify with these others that it is your first experience with a political campaign and it will be your first Presidential election. Do not seem surprised when they are shocked to learn that you are just nineteen.
When you arrive at Dean HQ in the middle of the night, decide that New Hampshire must be the coldest place on Earth. Use the phrase “depressed post-industrial economy” to describe Manchester because its riverfront showcases dozens of empty red-brick factories and warehouses. Comment on how the obnoxious CNN spotlight illuminating the sky resembles the Bat Signal (“Jumpin’ Jupiters, Batman!”), and hope that you’ll get a sound bite on television. Appreciate how friendly everyone at the HQ is to you, but find the hive of activity disorienting. Notice that no one here is older than thirty. Get invited out for drinks with some “St. A’s folks.” Learn that in New Hampshire, St. A’s means St. Anselm’s College.
Work all day, canvassing on a frigid Saturday morning in a working class Manchester neighborhood. Experience frequent rebuffs by so-called registered voters. Allow elderly shut-in ladies to invite you inside their warm, old-smelling homes for tea and cocoa. Listen to them chronicle the lives and baby photos of their children and grandchildren (whom you don’t know). After half an hour leave without even mentioning Dr. Dean. Resolve that most people here probably care more about the Super Bowl (Go Pats! they tell you) next Sunday than the primary election this Tuesday.
On Saturday night go to a quirky bar called the Wild Rover with other Dean supporters. Find some who are your age and have a great time. Hook up with one, a junior at Columbia. Compliment yourself because this girl has a really nice chest and try to understand that her hair was only so greasy after because of several days on the road and wool winter hats. Forget to ask for both her email and her phone number.
Reflect greatly about just how much you love Howard Dean, and wonder if this is normal. Uncomfortably remember the same emotional attachment you once had to John McCain. Wonder at how you can consider yourself such a fierce liberal when you once believed in a Republican. Recall defending said “Republican” during cafeteria table arguments and morning carpool discussions during high school. Also recall your rabid defense of Bill Clinton a few years before.
Frequently vent your anger about the media’s heinous mistreatment (nay, assassination) of Howard Dean. Try to understand how an amiable country doctor was transformed into the angry bête noir of American politics. Insert absurd “Yaarrrrr!” clip here. Replay clip.
Wait for the primary on Tuesday. Hope that you won’t become disillusioned.