I attended my first Howard Dean in 2004 Meetup in Cambridge a few hours ago organized by the local Mass for Dean volunteer group. The particular Meetup I RSVP’d for was supposed to be held at TT The Bear’s in Central Square but it moved to Upstairs at the Middle East at the last minute. The Middle East crew was very accomodating and the room worked out very well. When I went to get another soda, I noticed that the bartender had placed a note written on napkins on top of the bar that read “Thank you for tipping.” I asked him if that was a hint for the group and he nodded. I think future Meetups would benefit by having a tip jar that is either passed around or placed in a prominent place. It’s important to take care of the people working at the venues — especially if the space was donated.
The project for the night at Dean Meetups around the country was a letter writing campaign to 40,000 undecided voters in New Hampshire. I was really impressed with the way it was organized. Everyone received a little letter writing kit-of-sorts that had a small leaflet with two names/addresses and instructions, nice quality stationary and matching envelope, two stamps and a business card with the Dean website and wireless alert information. I don’t remember the last time I wrote one letter, let alone two. Especially by hand. Several people around me mentioned that their hands hurt from having to use a pen instead of a computer keyboard. Hopefully the people I wrote to will be able to read the letter I wrote despite my sloppy handwriting.
As trite as this may sound, it really felt like I was part of something tonight. Something that in a few years I can look back on and remember that I participated in a campaign that really mattered. Besides, I don’t want to share my birthday with another George Bush inauguration.
As an added bonus at the Meetup, Brad Searles gave me a music tip: go see British Sea Power at TT The Bear’s on Sunday night. I listened to an MP3 on the band’s website and they sound great. Looks like there’s something to do Sunday night!