My Day in Manchester

by John E. Mack, M.D.

September 17, 2004

We would like to provide a picture of what John Mack was doing a week before his passing. On September 17th, six weeks before the American Presidential election, he was in Manchester New Hampshire.

He shared this email (composed originally as a letter to his sons) with several of his close friends, so we would like to present it here so that it may in some way make John’s passion for a better future more real to people:

I had an extraordinary, and really quite wonderful, experience today [Saturday]. It consisted of showing up at an old transformed textile mill in Manchester, followed by door-to-door training in groups, and then a rally with speeches culminating in a barn-burning appeal by Ellen Malcolm, the national chair of ACT (America Coming Together), several hours of canvassing (it was a good day for that because more were home as a result of the heavy rain) with another fellow, and then returning back to headquarters with our “data.” There were literally hundreds of volunteers there of all ages, with a huge commitment and great energy.

We went to about twenty homes in a very depressed urban neighborhood. There is so much to say about that. I’ll hold it now to this: many people were “undecided,” not because they’ve weighed Bush/Kerry and haven’t made up their minds, but because they are so oppressed that they haven’t had the time or energy to bring to even thinking about an election in this embittered nation (some, a few men included, had little ones on their hips, peaking around them or even greeting us). And these people do care about their children’s future, and health care, education, jobs and war matter to them. But they need to be persuaded that one national leader is preferable to another, and that’s not hard to do with the information that we all have at our fingertips.

When they saw two pleasant mature gentlemen (I was paired with a retired chemist from Sudbury) who cared enough to come from Massachusetts in the pouring rain they listened, and some started to get persuaded. ACT is so meticulously organized (it is working in 19 swing states and is networking with many other grassroots organizations with a similar purpose), especially in its targeting of voters and follow-up (among other things), that they will make sure this experience is repeated until these people get into the voting booths, And they will vote for Kerry for just about all the reasons you and I would. This is, to a large degree, an untapped base, because, it would seem, human door-to-door contact is what it will take, and the campaigns in the past haven’t had the people power to do that. We do now, and the growing ranks of volunteers (many, like me, have never done this before, which, by the way, was a powerful talking point) will be able to take advantage of this potential.

I will go back the next Saturday or Sunday that I can, and you might want to try it one day.



© 2004 John E. Mack, M.D.