Meet a FLIPster: Dan Stipe

Today’s featured FLIPster keeps super busy on the weekends playing around the Triangle in his rock cover band, Andrea Cash & Kings of the Highway, along with our communications director, the aforementioned Andrea Cash. Dan is a hugely talented guitarist and singer. But even after a gig that goes until 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning, he still makes time to canvass with FLIP on many Sunday afternoons.

Dan has lived in North Raleigh since 1993. He works as an industrial designer, specifically on medical devices. His political past is peppered with variety. “I would say I've always been politically aware. I was actually a registered Republican until several years ago. I voted for both Reagan and [George H.W.] Bush twice,” he says. “What turned my thinking around was observing how President Clinton was treated when he was in office. It made me realize the Republican Party cared more about their power than what was good for the country. That situation has only gotten worse, and by orders of magnitude.”

Here, a Q&A with Dan.

What has surprised you most about canvassing? 

How supportive most people are when they realize why you've knocked on their door.

Do you like to recruit a friend or relative to sign up to canvass with you, or do you prefer to be paired with a stranger to add to the fun? 

I'm good either way. To date, I've always been paired with someone I didn't know. It's been a good experience getting to know these people and learning from their point of view.

If you've participated in other canvasses, how are FLIP NC canvasses different? 

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These canvasses are well organized. Plus you get pizza and beer afterward! FLIP NC provides a strong support network, and obviously everyone involved is very committed to making positive change happen. The pre-canvass information and training helps a lot when you are new to canvassing.

Have a funny story or touching moment to share?

At the June canvass, we were getting discouraged because no one answered at the first 10 doors we knocked. A man answered at the next house, but we could tell he was apprehensive to see us standing on his porch. Once we told him why we were there, he totally opened up to us, and we had a great conversation. He was an ex-police officer from Ohio, working to adopt a disadvantaged teen. Just a fantastic person. Something like that seems to happen at some point during every canvass. It lifts your spirit and gives you the energy to keep on keepin' on.

What's your top canvassing tip? 

You really have to be yourself. Figure out the approach that works best for you. I get right to the point and let them know that we're working to end the Republican supermajority in the State house, and I ask them if they're with us on that. Once that's been established, it's easy to move on, either to talking about issues or moving on to the next house!

What is really motivating you to get involved? Obviously, you want to FLIP NC, but tell us a bit about the "why." 

OMG. The Republicans have just done too much damage since gaining power in 2010. Their supermajority has taken North Carolina backwards. It must be ended. A supermajority wouldn't be a concern to me if I felt the legislators were operating in good faith and working for the betterment of all citizens. But that's not what they're doing. … Free and fair elections are the foundation of democracy. Between gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the Citizens United abomination, our democracy is getting ever more difficult to support. I feel like we truly are in a fight for the soul of America. Every day, when I read the news, it feels to me what I imagine it must have felt like in Germany in the 1930s when Nazism was on the rise. Don't think that that can't happen in America. It absolutely can. We need everyone to exercise their vote in November, while we still have that right.

How are you feeling about the 2018 election? Optimistic? 

Yes, fairly optimistic, but definitely not getting my hopes up. We can't take anything for granted. Sixty percent of the country supports progressive ideas. We have to get them to vote.

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Other than politics, what’s a passion of yours? 

My passions tend more toward obsessions! Mine is playing music!

Who do you admire in politics? Why?  

Mr. Obama, because he was a total class act. Never lost his cool, even under the most difficult circumstances. Smart, articulate, genuine. … Rev. William Barber is also inspiring. I admire how he is indefatigable and unflinching in his effort to call out the injustices that are taking place in North Carolina and in the nation.

Tell us about a political moment that inspired you.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' recent primary victory was very inspiring.

What would you say to someone who is feeling totally dejected by our current state of politics? And how do you stay in the fight? 

Well, that someone would be me. There really isn't an option but to stay in the fight. This is about right versus wrong, good versus evil. What is happening in our country right now is simply wrong. If you're not actively fighting it, you're enabling it. There is no choice. You can't quit. If you don't quit, you can't fail.