Nov 2012 Election Night in Chicago's McCormick Place
(photo courtesy of New York Daily News)
The excitement of November 6th, 2012- the energy, the atmosphere, the creed that better days are always ahead of us- has stirred up emotions dormant since 2008. Feelings that one leader elected by an energetic and hopeful nation can stir up. Reflecting on exactly what he said: We are the Obama generation.
This election, as was stated in 2008, is not really about the President. It is not about the remarkable story of one freshman Illinois senator who catapulted his way to victory because he can rock a speech. It is because there really is “something happening” in America, something has been waiting to be stirred for a very long time. Just like for every innovator, creator, artist, and scientist, there is a passionate fire that exists in the souls of every individual. A passion that is reflected in people’s personalities, in their arts, in their speech, and in the United States can be expressed freely in their work. Those individual flames collectively reflect the passion and spirit of the American people.
I have been following Obama since he was a senator of Illinois and while I was living in my hometown suburb in southern
Nov 6, 2012
(photo courtesy of Boston University Today)
California. I saw him deliver a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that left viewers speechless. By watching him through one interview, then another, then listening to his speeches, then picking up his books… I was convinced. He had something that reflected the essence of something we could all feel but not quiet explain. A few years later on election night 2008 we realized what it was: the essence and spirit of America.
2008 was an amazing year. I personally followed the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton so closely that I could have taught a class on campaign politics. And now eight years later, I find myself working and studying in the very same state he served as senator and living only blocks away from his residence in the same Southside neighborhood of his adopted town in Chicago.
On the night of November 4th
, 2008- the moment Barack Obama was elected 44th
president of the United States- a general euphoria overtook our household, and I had never felt so elated in my life. And whether it was our house, or a working class family’s home in East LA, or an affluent
Supporters and volunteers wait for the President to give speech at rally in Wisconsin on the eve of Election Day (LA Times)
family’s estate in New York, so many other people across the nation (and no doubt people across the globe) felt something had changed in America, and that a new chapter in our early nation’s history began.
His campaign began as a grass-roots movement, and his prospects were indeed a long- shot, but his team did nearly everything right. Advisors David Plouffe and David Axelrod changed the face of organizing, mobilizing, and utilizing social media to get voters out to the polls. They flipped states that had historically voted for Republican candidates. And meanwhile the whole movement that became Obama’s election involved people of every different race, age, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic background was spearheaded by one remarkable candidate whose speeches struck a chord in the heart of the deeply hurting American public. Barack Obama and his team ran one incredible campaign that set the standard of what progressive candidates have to show what they can offer the American people. With his promises of change and reform and in his sincerity, voters turned out in record breaking numbers. It seemed that during this phenomenal year history was made over and over again, and we were the victors writing
What a typical campaign office looks like, full of volunteers making phone calls reminding voters to vote [for you-know-who] on election day. Someone needs to bring donuts and coffee
November 6, 2012: my friends and I watch in awe only blocks away from his residence in Hyde Park, Chicago, the man that we worked for and believed in for so long elected to another term as President of the United States. And we, like so many Americans across the country, feel a personal connection to this victory because we firmly believe that our work and our involvement in his campaign brought him to center stage of global leadership. We believe that this grass-roots movement began with us campaigning, canvassing, calling, and spreading his message of rattling the stale political system of Washington. We wanted a man who reflected our diverse needs in a position of power to lead the country and rebuild the image of America. That progressive candidate gave us something to believe in, and the truth is that through this process we found the miracle that is the United States in ourselves.
No matter how diverse my own background, I have always believed in the American spirit. I believe in the American people, who have shown time and time again through natural disaster, war, election cycle, economic downturn and prosperity
Volunteer canvasses for Obama in Iowa (the Atlantic)
Having worked on a congressional campaign myself, canvassing is no picnic. I applaud volunteers who knock on doors for their candidates, no matter what political party that may be.
to be the most resilient, hardworking, dedicated, and good-hearted people I have ever encountered. There are differences, so many shallow and not so shallow ones that exist between us: race, political belief, ethnicity, culture, religion, orientation. Some of these beliefs run deep, some have forced us to confront an ugly history that we have had with slavery, racism, and prejudice that continues to exist to this day. Often times we are confronted with crimes of hate and statements of ignorance that leave a lasting sting and sensitivity towards the issues of ethnic, racial, and religious differences. But these are problems that can be worked through- these are things that we as a nation of immigrants can overcome if we continue to be the tolerant, respectful, and giving neighbors that is indoctrinated in American ethic and encapsulated in society since the founding of this remarkable nation. Because no matter who we are, we have all come here for the same reason. We have all come to experience the “unlikely story that is America”, because it is we who create those unlikely stories in ourselves and through our everyday lives. We are the story of America, and we have embarked on a
A little campaign humor... (sorry I couldn't help myself)
bright new chapter in the American story from the ashes of two wars, recession, and deeply neglected domestic issues. We are creating a new identity for ourselves.
Barack Obama is president, our president, our leader, our bookmark in history, our reflection of the changing times in our great nation’s history. Tonight I will write, tonight I will study, tomorrow I will work and I will share my ideas, thoughts, and time. And I will continue day after day until I create my own unlikely story, fueled and driven by the unshakable belief in the American Dream. I will continue to work and vote and give my time, knowledge, and income for the betterment of our country- because of the unwavering faith that a mixed kid with a strange last name can make it too. That a person like me- or Obama, or my brothers, or my friends- can do whatever we truly want if we work and give with our hearts and our minds.
We are the American story.
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