By MARY ANN O'TOOLE HOLLEY
Labor’s sweep of Prop A wasn’t just a major victory, it was a lesson, months in the making, for working men and women who learned that talking to their friends and neighbors, knocking doors and adding a personal touch to politics gets the job done.
At the Cuivre River Cooperative offices recently, a platoon of volunteers representing six grassroots groups sat at tables reminiscent of a quilting bee, writing personal notes on candidate postcards, talking and telling their tales, sharing concerns and toiling to boost turnout for the Nov. 6 election.
It was a Postcard Party, a political campaign trend that has taken hold in St. Charles County, lending the personal touch to a candidate’s plea with a short but sincere message. Participants say it’s not just good for the candidate, it’s good for the writers to know they are doing something to make change.
“Just before the election in 2016, I found out I had breast cancer,” said Linda Scroggins of Lake Saint Louis. “I thought my life couldn’t get much worse, but then Trump was elected.”
‘I FEEL LIKE I'M DOING SOMETHING'
Scroggins, 76, said she had never been involved in politics before, but one night heard Rachel Maddow talk about the effectiveness of the group “Indivisible” and their work writing personal messages to voters.
She formed the Lake Saint Louis “Indivisible-We Will Persist” chapter and already has 50 members and 200 online followers. She opened her home to strangers, holding her first Postcard Party at her dining room table.
“It’s a scary time, but I feel I’m doing something,” Scroggins said.
In the past month, the group of postcard partiers has written 10,000 personalized messages to voters.
SOOTHING COLLECTIVE ANXIETY
At the gathering, which included volunteers representing Indivisible, the St. Charles County Missouri Democrats, St. Charles County Progressive Democrats, Mobilize Missouri, the St Charles Democratic Central Committee and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, was also something of a collective balm for the burning anxiety many voters feel.
Amy Taylor is from a family with three generations of operating engineers. She said she came out to help because, “it’s just too frustrating to sit doing nothing.”
“It’s always a fight these days,” Taylor said. “Prop A was all about money for the wealthy, and this November’s election is about voting out those politicians that don’t care about the working class.”
Lynn Bjerkness, a Teachers union retiree, said she never got involved in politics before but helping makes her feel less hopeless.
“My great uncle was an O’Connell, a union representative,” Bjerkness said. “He’d be proud of me.”
Want to attend a postcard party or connect with one of the groups in this story? They each have event notifications on Facebook.
If you want to talk with someone directly, call Morton Todd, president of the St. Charles County Democrats and a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 at 636-288-4373.