Voice: "Hello! This is [Random Name] from Barack Obama for President. I was just calling today because, as you know, we FINALLY finished our primaries and we are anxious to start our campaign against John McCain. So can I count on your support today for say, $300?"
Me: "No, I will not be voting for Barack Obama. I vote for actual Progressive candidates like Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, and the Greens. You know, the kind of people that used to be the Democratic Party when the party actually got things done in this country, before Centrist took over and started 'compromising' with the Lunatic Fringe Right."
Voice: "Ahhhh.... So, you, ummm, you are not voting Democrat this election?"
Me: "Oh, no, I most certainly am voting Democratic. I'm voting for the only Democrat in the race, Ralph Nader."
Me: "But my mother may vote for Obama."
Voice: "Good, can we mark her down for a contribution of..."
Me: "BUT, only if he puts Clinton on the ticket in some meaningful way."
Voice: "What about your father?"
Me: "Believes strongly in the Democratic Party and its principles."
Voice: "So... does he support... Obama?"
Me: "No, like I said, he believes in the principles of the Democratic Party, along the lines of real Democrats like Kucinich."
Voice: "Oh. Ummm, well then, I... ahhh... Thanks for your time, I, ahh, I guess."
Me: "My pleasure. Have a good one."
Voice: "Yeah... ummm... you too."
I strongly encourage all of you to voice your concerns. This is one of the ways we can get change in this country. Even if you ARE going to vote for Obama come November (I may -- Nader may not be on the ballot in Ohio due to the way the Republicrat Machine has set up the rules making it very difficult to get third parties on and I honestly appreciate his new no lobbyist contributions stance), use your voice and use it often. This staffer walked away with an earful of grievances. Will she be able to change things? No. Did she probably instantly dismiss me as crazy? Probably. But the fact remains, if enough of them called enough of me's I bet Obama would be more inclined to say he would get our troops out of Iraq by 2013.
This is what Nader calls "strategic use of voice and use of vote", which is to say, what happens in the voting booth is between you and your conscious and that's it. If you feel voting for him would be "throwing your vote away" don't vote for him, but that doesn't mean you should openly support someone that doesn't represent you as best as you can be represented. The way to change is to tell pollsters, campaigns, and media outlets what you want, and eventually the candidates will get the message. Plus the way the wind went out of the staffer when I mentioned Nader was priceless, it is hard to stand for progressive change in the face of the real article. That moment alone was well worth the price of admission.