Sara Whitman

Cabbies know best

Filed By Sara Whitman | October 29, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, election 2008, gay marriage, No On 8, Prop 8, same-sex marriage, San Francisco, volunteer work

I was at a table of volunteers, all calling people. It's wild here right now. Calling for volunteers, calling for Election Day visibility. There is a volunteer coordinator who is a clone of my sister in law, Tonita who is giving out instructions.

Nice but direct.

No one has made calls before but their packets are great. Cell phones provided if need be. Long lists. Text to read. Nervous questions asked about what was the right thing to fill out on the forms. Do you leave a message or just hang up?

Never leave a message, I said. It's too easy to ignore.

At my table there were several young, gay men. An older straight woman who had been to Reno to knock on doors for Obama and felt this was the most important thing to do right now. Everyone started off slowly reading the lines, starting to roll after a while. Mostly people called are willing to be engaged at some level.

It's easier to do this in a room full of people.

Money, however, is hard to raise. Tapped out. Broke. Can't do more.

I understand, fully, the feeling- and the reality. Since the primaries, it's been call after call, looking for political donations. I don't ever remember a time when so much has been asked for.

Or so much was at stake.

I keep looking over my lists, who else can I call? Who are the straight allies I can ask? Even a couple hundred dollars makes a difference right now. (I know that feels like a lot but please understand, I'm used to asking for much more.)

I took a cab back- I'm kind of a baby about public transportation when I'm tired. First thing in the morning is fine but... I have my limits.

Okay, I'm kind of a big baby in general.

The cab driver was an old stoner from the 1960's, with a long, gray ponytail. How do you like San Francisco, he asked.

I love it, I said. It's a beautiful city.

He asked why I was here and I explained I came out to work on Prop 8. I did not mention which side but seeing that he picked me up in the Castro, it was an easy guess.

No on 8! He said loudly. Stupid rednecks need to just shut up.

I agreed.

Even the Republicans think it's stupid. It'll fail. There is no way it'll pass.

I hope not, I said. A lot of money has come into the state to tell you all what to do.

After pulling what could only be deemed a Boston driving move, he said, There are enough right-minded people. It'll never pass.

We then went on to discuss why Californians were so mellow.

It's the pot, he said. We have great weed out here.


I found it funny that his voice was even, calm, and had that California lilt to it. And yet he drove like a maniac. I do believe, though, Cabbies often know the pulse of their city better than most. They always know where to get great food. I guess San Francisco is a no-brainer- but he seemed certain about the state.

You have a little Bostonian in you, I said as we pulled up.

He laughed. Just a little during rush hour.

The rented space for No on 8 was full when I left. Hundreds of people sitting at tables making calls. The energy was high. People are nervous.

Not my cabbie, though. I hope he's right.

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God bless the cabbie. And his weed. If the pipe dream becomes reality, I'll gladly join him in a toke! :)

Face it, Sara. Now that you're there? They don't stand a chance.