Friday, September 19, 2008

Putting My Body Where My Mouth Is

A couple of weeks ago, Democrats Abroad asked if we would volunteer for registering people to vote at the "Hungary for Obama" concert event. At the time it sounded like a great idea and we both said "Sure, why not?" We have both been volunteer registrars at other events with dismal results so a black cloud was floating over this idea once I said yes. To be supportive, we registered and bought a T-shirt with the "Hungary for Obama" logo on it for 3,500 Huf each. When 6:30 pm came around last night, I really did not want to drag myself out of the house to go to this event. It was held at the Merlin Theater, a venue that used to have many plays in English, but has since moved more toward German and Hungarian. In the past, we had season tickets, but had not been for over a year since there was nothing in a language we spoke. They spiffed up the place and it was looking mighty good. Merrill Oates, the organizer has a platoon of volunteers handling the shirt sales and distribution. His organizational skills would have made envious. The theater has a large restaurant on the second floor where the event started. Each table was embellished with a plate of sandwiches, Hungarian biscuits, cookies, and candles. Being an audio-visual techie, Merrill had slide shows going on both huge walls, while a bandstand was ready for the musical entertainment. This obviously was not a slapped together event and would have made any Democrat proud. The US Embassy sent a Hungarian employee from the Consular Service to assist us with registration. Since each state has its own rules and regulations of what information they require for a person to register, thick books were on the table for referencing each states requirements. Anyone who walked by us, we asked if they were registered. When we received numerous "I am already registered" responses, I was beginning to think this was another waste of time. However, after an hour into the event, we started getting people coming over to register. The Ohio, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Florida people especially made our hearts sing out with joy. One woman from Alaska came up to register too and shared her feelings about Palin reiterating all we have heard from the news and the YouTube video in this blog. What was especially exciting were the people who took up to ten applications each for friends who were not able to attend the event, but still wanted to get registered. The music was lovely with a band and a soulful singer. The lights were dimmed forcing us to have a secondary light source on our table for people to see, but it made for a dramatic event. We registered close to twenty-five people. The Embassy assistant had encyclopedic knowledge and was an excellent resource. We finally closed down by 10:30 pm, but the party was still going hot and heavy. The attendance approached 200 minimum by all who were counting, but as we were leaving, people were still arriving. As happens many times, I have reservations about commitments I make when the time approaches, but afterward, I leave with great satisfaction. Last night was a prime example.

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