Tales from the Trail – You Can Be Pleasantly Surprised.

37361136_274866776397866_5550519689844621312_n     I really enjoy canvassing and talking to the people in the community about the issues that are important to them – the seniors who are worried that increasing property taxes will force them to sell their life-long homes; the single mom worried about losing her healthcare; and the union member afraid of losing his pension.  It is surprising to me and quite refreshing how open and honest people are when they know someone is willing to listen!

Of course, canvassing is not all peaches and cream – I’ve had people peek out of their blinds and not answer the door or tell me that they are not interested – and that’s okay, too.  I wave or I say “Have a nice day” and move on to the next house.

But I truly was not prepared for an encounter that occurred the other day.  On a hot, humid evening in August, Katherine Friedman, who is running for City Council in Linwood and I, armed with our walking pieces (and for me a sweat rag), decided to forego the traditional “walk list” and just introduce ourselves to Katherine’s neighbors.  As we neared the end of the evening, we knocked on a door and were greeted by a friendly, welcoming woman who invited us into her home.  Upon entering, it was apparent that we interrupted what looked to be a prayer group.  The three men and three women were gracious and excited about the upcoming election and questioned Katherine about local Linwood issues.  One of the gentlemen finally asked what party we were running on.  When Katherine responded, democrat, silence fell across the room.  One of the women explained that they were staunch Trump supporters, good Christians who adamantly opposed abortion and couldn’t wait for Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court.  For me, I honestly had to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut, but for Katherine, she didn’t skip a beat, explaining that we are all people and when it comes to local issues, like a stop sign on the corner or a broken street light, it doesn’t matter if you are Democrat or Republican, it just matters that you care enough about your community to get things done.  And guess what?  The group of Trump supporters agreed!  Being the progressive that I am, I was so surprised that I was actually having a conversation with a group of people whom I so vehemently disagree with – and that it was a friendly conversation!  Before we left, the group asked if they could pray for us and we agreed.  It was without the doubt the strangest thing that’s happened on the trail thus far but I learned something from Katherine – we are all people, regardless of party affiliation.  We may have different opinions, but those differences should not strip away decency and kindness for others.  Katherine Friedman, you rock – I will walk with you anytime!

Author: Maureen Leidy

I am a proud resident of Ventnor and a member of the Ventnor Democrats and the South Jersey Democratic Women’s Forum. I am a single mother of four adult children, and grandmother to seven. When I am not working, I’m either calling my congressmen, signing petitions or marching in the streets. When I was approached to run, my inclination was to decline, but my daughter bluntly told me, “Put your money where your mouth is. If you don’t run, you are a hypocrite.” As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. So I am running to give a voice to those Atlantic County residents, who, like myself live paycheck to paycheck; who have struggled with the disease of addiction in their family; who have nowhere to turn when they are facing abuse and harassment. I am running to keep our beaches clean and our roads free of flooding. I am running to ensure your children and grandchildren can go to school without fear and receive a quality education. I am running so that my daughters and yours have access to Planned Parenthood. I am running so that all of us, male or female, are treated fairly and paid equally in the workplace. I know it’s an uphill battle, but I’ve always been a fighter. I will fight for your vote and I will fight for the ideals and values that the people of Atlantic County believe in – a safe, affordable community that we are proud to call home.

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