Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Memorable Times

I learned a lot over the last four days.

Though I consider myself very engaged politically, no candidate has ever inspired me enough to get my butt of the couch (where I spend most of my time blogging) and to physically help his or her campaign. That is the power of the Obama campaign, which is truly unlike anything I have ever seen.

On Saturday, I volunteered to make phone calls from a Denver office. By the time I left, I had dialed 260 phone numbers, spoken with over 60 people, and helped a few of them follow through on their committment to vote for Obama. I was surrounded by other phone volunteers, canvassers, organizers, in an atmosphere of enthusiasm mixed with anxiety for a result no one could predict. One of the organizers convinced me to take the day off on Tuesday to give more help. I couldn't say no.

On election day the office was flooded with volunteers: some were people I had already met on Saturday, most were new people who had come straight from the polls to do what they could to help Obama conquer Colorado.

As I wrote to a friend, it was inspiring to see so many people donate their time, money and energy to prevent the downward spiral of the Bush years from continuing under a McCain presidency. It was humbling to see how many people had flown in from non-contested states (even foreign countries) to help Obama carry Colorado, and to see even really young kids work with their parents to make banners, sort lists, and make phone calls.

A good friend called me from Western Pennsylvania, and told me she went to a polling place with her 18 month old daughter, and both distributed stickers and buttons to voters.

That, I believe, is the spirit that put Barack Obama over the top in this contest: his ability to mobilize so many first-timers, who had never actively participated in a political campaign before. This spirit of participation, this belief that we are truly all in this together, that change comes from the bottom, is the true promise of the Obama presidency, and I hope that he won't let us down, if we don't abandon him.

For the greater part of the last eight years I had only seen the worst of America's democracy. Over the last four days, I was humbled by the passion and the dedication of the many volunteers who helped the cause we all believe in, giving everything they could afford to give.

I am deeply grateful to Jamie, Holly, Deneen, Madeleine, Greg, Chris, Steph, Maggie, Lisa, Julie, Will, and all the other great, selfless people I met over the last few days.

These are truly memorable times.

4 comments:

Tom said...

Thanks for your efforts for positive change, Fab.

Here's hoping the future is as bright as it seems to be today.

Sirfab said...

Thank you and amen!

Steve Schuler said...

Sirfab,

I am more hopeful now about American politics than I have ever been in my life. I had fallen into that rather subatantial portion of the population that had become very cynical towards politics. With some regret I would describe myself as having "put my head in a hole in the sand". Watching the progress of the Bush administration over the last 8 years awakened me to the fact that I could no longer remain disengaged from the political process and maintain any semblance of a clear conscience. Fortunately Barrack Hussein Obama appeared and then arose to sucess in the Democratic primary. In May of this year I made the first financial contribution to a political campaign in my life. Given my life/financial circustances at the time it would have been very easy to rationalize a more tight fisted hold on my limited resources. I acted from conscience knowing that, win or lose, I had to do what little I could to help this man in his bid for the Presidency. Unknown to me, I was part of a groundswell of grassroots support for the man who is now our President. I wish my mom had been able to live long enough to witness this moment in American history. I know she would have shed tears of joy. My county in rural Oklahoma split 87/13 in favor of McCain. I was disappointed but not surprised. My hope now is that we can come together as a people and confront the multitude of problems we face as a nation. To our Christian brothers I would recommend a reading of Romans 13 to help you in understanding a Biblical perspective on Obama's presidency. I do not profess to know the mind or will of God and perhaps too many of you have made the mistake of believing your will was His Will.

Sirfab said...

Steve, there is one small but meaningful (intentional?) point of your comment that caught my attention: you wrote the full name of our President-elect, Barack Hussein Obama.

It is nice, after months of attacks, to be able to read it simply as a statement of fact, rather than as the slur meant by his opponents. :-)

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