FIRST PERSON | PELHAM, N.H. -- I live in a 10,000-resident town, right on the Massachusetts border. I am 44 and the mother of a toddler. I moved here from California three years ago, so this is my first presidential election in New Hampshire. I'm also an unabashedly liberal Democrat.
The area where I live is a prime battleground in New Hampshire. A lot of my neighbors commute to Massachusetts, into Boston. This makes this area something of an extended suburb of Boston, which might make you think that we should be more connected politically to our progressive neighbors to the south. Not so. People who live in New Hampshire take their "Live Free or Die" state motto seriously.
There are markedly more Romney/Ryan signs around here than Obama/Biden. I would happily put an Obama/Biden sign on my property, but I can't seem to find one. I've asked the local Obama Organizing for America field organizers, but the lawn signs seem to be an issue. They don't have any available. They referred me to the national website, which asks for donations for lawn signs. I'm not opposed to this -- in fact, I've donated to the campaign -- but I find the print on these signs small and unreadable and I'm wary I won't get my sign in a timely manner. I'm still waiting for my bumper sticker I ordered when I donated more than a month ago. At this rate, it won't arrive until a few days before the election.
I'm guessing I'm not the only frustrated Democrat who can't get a lawn sign.
I did take whatever signs the OFA office had available: Annie Kuster for Congress, Bill Duncan for Executive Council. These are on my property. I'm looking for a Maggie Hassan for governor sign, too. There are more signs for Kuster and Hassan in the area than there are for Obama. This means there are Democrats here, but they can't get Obama signs.
By far the most visible candidate in the area is Ovide LaMontagne, the Republican candidate for governor and tea party darling. His signs are big and loud and they seem to be everywhere. The guy has funding and he's spending it. I find this frightening.
What I do find encouraging is the Democrats' ground game. A few weekends ago, I took my son, Milo (almost 3), to go canvassing in our town. When we knocked on doors, we found most people we met were supporting Obama. Milo enjoyed ringing the doorbells and exploring people's gardens. It's not unlike trick or treating, really.
As much as we found supporters, people were reluctant to volunteer or get involved in the campaign. I get it. I'm busy too. Here in New Hampshire, we don't like to bother our neighbors. But when I did talk to my neighbors, even the ones who disagreed with me, I had a connection that I didn't have before.
I suppose it helps soften the antagonism when your 3-year-old sings "Vote Obama!" We'll be canvassing again soon.