It's all about perspective

Posts tagged ‘mccain’

Yes we did

As the world well knows, on November 4, 2008, the United States voted to elect Barack Hussein Obama to be it’s 44th president.

I volunteered for the Obama campaign that day. I was asked to drive out to Republic, a short 15 miles from Springfield, because they needed more help than any of the Springfield offices did. It was a small office in the corner of a shopping center; decorated with every bit of campaign paraphernalia they could find. We were going out to canvass neighborhoods to ensure Obama supporters knew where their polling place was and that they actually got out to vote.

I was astounded to learn that I would be one of three team “captains” because I could drive and I knew the area. They needed people like that because, unbeknown to me, the Obama campaign had bussed almost 50 volunteers from Texas to Missouri. Not just for the 4th either; they had been in Missouri since Saturday. I was amazed, touched, and embarrassed all at the same time and all for the same reason; these people spent their time and energy to volunteer in a place they had never been before, to help people they had never seen before, to help a candidate they believed in, but I only had time for a single day.

I have always said that the faith most important to me is the faith I have in human potential. I will always remember November 4, 2008 as the day that faith was proven to be fact. There is no limit to what humans can do when we work together.

And did we work. I drove and we walked and the hours just slipped through our fingers as we knocked on door after door. After six very long hours the whole of Republic was finally canvassed. Then they sent me and six other out-of-town volunteers to a southern district in Springfield where a very large section of democrat-friendly voters had not been canvassed. Out we went again at 4:30. For the next two hours we rushed to talk to as many people as we could.

We were given two packets consisting of 8 streets each. I had been given two people. I gave them a street to walk and I took a street to drive. Thankfully the alignment in my car is still spot on. As I approached one of the houses on the list I would hop out of my car, let it continue rolling, talk to the person at the house, and then jump back in the car before it rolled away from their property. Dangerous, yes, but it allowed me to cover the same amount of ground as two people on foot.

It was 6:20, the sun had gone down, and the street lights were of no help in finding the addresses on our list, but I was able to talk to one last person. His garage door was open and I found him sitting outside enjoying a cigarette. I introduced myself, told him I was with the Obama campaign, and asked if he had voted yet. He told me he hadn’t and that he wasn’t sure if he was registered. I was kind of stunned. I said “sir, you’re registered to vote. And if you’re sure you are registered to vote, but your polling place doesn’t have your name on the rolls, they have to give you something called a provisional ballot. It’s only 6:25, your polling place is not that far from here, and if you are in line by 7pm they have to let you vote. This is possibly the most important election you will ever have the change to take part in. Don’t pass this up.”

He looked at me for a second, glanced at the ground, and then looked at the clock hanging on the wall in his garage. “You know what? Fuck it” he exclaimed as he dashed over the get the helmet for his scooter. “I’ve still got time right? And they have to let me vote right?”

“Yes sir they do. Thank you sir!” My heart was pounding as he drove his scooter off into the night.

I don’t know whether he was able to vote or not, but I am so excited he tried.

It was projected that Greene county only needed to have 42% of the vote for Obama to take the state. We capped out at 41%. Our efforts made this state undecided even three days after the fact. 5859 votes separate the two candidates.

That night, as I sat with a few friends watching the results at a downtown restaurant, I was speechless as I watched Senator McCain stroll out onto that stage and concede the race. The place erupted in deafening applause. A hard-fought campaign season was finally over. We could all rest, if only for a moment, and enjoy our victory. Now the hard work begins.

Yes we did.

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Two weeks and counting

Dear Voter,

I have been watching with intense scrutiny the presidential political cycle since last year. I watched, I listened, and occasionally I commented on the theatrics. At first I was a Clinton supporter, but as time passed and the politics became thicker than year-old engine oil my fealty changed. Barack Obama has been doing everything possible to stick to the issues of the campaign at every stop. Talking at length with anyone who would listen about his plans for the economy, education, immigration, the war in Iraq, and how to get this country back on track.

Please click here to read the rest of my letter:

(more…)

Vice President Pitbull

Last night Gov. Sarah Palin brought the Republican National Convention to its feet with a very well-delivered speech.

This was not a surprise. In fact, if this was a legitimate surprise to anyone they haven’t been following American politics for long.

I will begrudgingly admit her ability to deliver a prepared speech is good. But, like so many other bloggers and journalists, I am waiting to see what happens over the next nine weeks. Will she be as cool as she was last night? How will the pitbull handle herself when she’s out of training school and off the leash?

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way. Continue on to read some of my thoughts on the pitbull… (more…)

Thoughts on a campaign

For a candidate who’s platform for the last year has been one of Change and Hope, I have seen neither of late. Between Senator Obama’s run of attack ads on Senator McCain and the most recent pouncing on McCain, I find myself questioning exactly what change Obama is going to bring about when he resorts to the same old political game? What hope is Obama going to bring about when it seems he is doing his level best to sink to the level of every other politician?

And where was the campaign of change, who has been largely running on the “lifting up the middle class” rhetoric, when the middle class workers of Wal-Mart were being lied to about pending labor law reforms and being led to believe a Democratic win would be bad for business? The perfect opportunity presented itself to cement his place as the candidate for change, and he may have missed it. Hopefully, Senator Obama’s VP pick will be able to attack where he can not.

The next question should be asked, do we blame Senator Obama for these gaffes, or David Plouffe, his campaign manager?

Then we all get the text message at 2:30 in the morning telling us that Senator Job Biden has been chosen as Obama’s running mate. Within minutes of taking the podium in Illinois, Obama changed his message to accomodate the newest addition saying “”Joe Biden is that rare mix. For decades, he has brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn’t changed him.”

Not to be outdone, Senator McCain released two ads attempting to capitalize on Senator Biden’s verbal vomit early in the primary season and the angst of Hilary supporters everywhere.

Nothing short of finding out Obama has flat-out lied to us for the last year will keep me from voting for him in November. For now, though, I’m dissappointed. Anyone else who is should email him and say so too.

I was wrong

Obama is right. And I should have supported him from the beginning.

And bravo to him for finally putting it out there. We are bitter and resentful. Now he may not be on the mark 100% for where those emotions get displaced to, but its a good start to being honest with us. Which is a whole hell of a lot better than McCain and Clinton have been. At the end of this post you will find the full text of what was supposed to be a closed fundraiser dinner.

My father, who is neither a democrat nor an Obama or Clinton supporter, has put it more eloquently than I have been able to. We talk often about the political state of the country we both cherish so much, and even his hardcore conservative republican roots whither before what is represented by these three opponents; you are either for change, or not. With Clinton and McCain, a vote for either of them is a vote for old money and an established way of doing things. In this modern era the average American understands this as merely giving lip service to those you want votes from. That is the Clinton and McCain legacy; we’ve done it like this for so long, why change? Obama on the other hand, represents change and a new way of doing and thinking within this republic for which he wants to stand.

Clinton and McCain both (with a surprising amount of similarity in their responses) said that Obama is out of touch with the average American. Are these two stoned? Are they so wrapped up in their own elitist dogma that they actually think they know what an average american goes through? Clinton paid her own brand of lip service to Pennsylvanians when she said she met “people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves.” This reeks of Republican pull yourself up by your own bootstraps rhetoric, and makes me sick to hear it from a Democrat I once supported. McCain called his comments elitist condescension, or rather an aide did, because it seems like McCain wants to be able to distance himself from sounding like the Republican hypocrite he really is.

We have to admit there is a problem before we can even begin to fix it. It’s time to talk and I think the Obama camp said it best in their press release regarding Clinton’s and McCain’s statements.

Senator Obama has said many times in this campaign that Americans are understandably upset with their leaders in Washington for saying anything to win elections while failing to stand up to the special interests and fight for an economic agenda that will bring jobs and opportunity back to struggling communities,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

“And if John McCain wants a debate about who’s out of touch with the American people, we can start by talking about the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that he once said offended his conscience but now wants to make permanent.” (taken from this post)

What follows is the full text of the speech Senator Obama gave that started this. You can listen to it at this website.

“So, it depends on where you are, but I think it’s fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre…I think they’re misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to ‘white working-class don’t wanna work — don’t wanna vote for the black guy.’ That’s…there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today – kind of implies that it’s sort of a race thing.

Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by — it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

But — so the questions you’re most likely to get about me, ‘Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What’s the concrete thing?’ What they wanna hear is — so, we’ll give you talking points about what we’re proposing — close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama’s gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we’re gonna provide health care for every American. So we’ll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.”

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