Six hours in a parking lot

I spent six hours today standing in a parking lot collecting signatures to force the county income tax onto the November ballot—the same income tax that was defeated on last November’s ballot. One hundred volunteers collected signatures in eight locations. My location had a steady stream of voters despite the fact that the Register Guard and at least one local television station reported that the commissioners were “probably” going to do away with the tax anyway. When I asked people why, having heard this, they still came—thirty miles in some cases—they all said that they don’t trust the commissioners or the media. Many people appear to place a negative truth correlation upon what they are told by the powerful. A local TV station sent people to the wrong location for our rally last week, and the Register Guard sent them to the wrong location for my signature station today—in a paid ad, no less. Accidents? Even if they were, they would suggest that the media is untrustworthy.

I asked one of the three men who started the petition how it came about. He said that he and the other two work together, and that they often threaten to take action against one government outrage or another, but that, until now, their threats had fizzled. This time, one of them donated $10,000 for legal fees and advertising, and they all took off from work to support the effort.

The volunteers at my station thanked everyone who signed. Many of those we thanked pointed out that it was we who were doing all the work, but we didn’t see it that way. As one volunteer said, “We could stand behind these tables all day, but if people didn’t care enough to show up, we would be wasting our time.”