Monday, November 03, 2008

Optimism for Obama

It is obvious from my previous posts that I am an Obama supporter. I have not written much during this election because, honestly, I am not sure much more needs to be said. There is so much news today, and even more commentary, both in print and in the various forms of electronic media available today. I think writing this post is just my attempt to work out what I feel about this election for myself and relating a couple of relevant experiences.


My friends often come to me to speak about politics and the news of the day because they know that I am a current events junkie. I clearly point out that I still think of myself as an independent voter - what does that mean? I think it means that I try to understand all sides of an issue without ideological disdain for any point of view. Do I have any philosophical prejudices? Absolutely. I believe the government should stay out of peoples personal lives and deal with the issues that they are unable to deal with on an individual basis.

So on this night before this election, I must admit that a relative calm has set in and I am somewhat confident that Barack Obama will be our next President. A few days ago, I admit that I would not have allowed myself that optimism. A few days ago, I still believed that some force or some unfortunate incident, or some revelation would change the landscape of this race before the candidates crossed the finish line.

Why the optimism? I volunteered for the Obama campaign for the first time this past weekend here in Pennsylvania and I was struck by the diverse group of people at the little satellite campaign office here in King of Prussia, PA. Many of the people there were the ones that his campaign was supposed to be having a problem attracting. Older white voters, and Jewish voters. More than that, however, was the festive mood in the office and of the people that had come out to help. There were smiles and laughter; there was quiet determination; there was an undercurrent of optimism and yes, that most important word - hope. My partner, Brad, and I set off to a neighborhood close to my own to leave "doorknockers" that would serve to remind the residents of the homes to vote and also informed them of their voting location. We were instructed by the campaign to only go to homes that had already been identified as supporters of the campaign, either by polling or by donations or previous canvassing. The effort had a very scientific approach to it; it was organized and confident.

Personally, the level of support there is in my home town for Obama has really impressed me. This would not have been the case here even ten years ago. Brad, who had come from New Jersey to help convince Pennsylvanians to vote for Obama (he figured New Jersey was already in the bag), was worried when we came to streets that had only a few homes identified as Obama supporters. I related that we were in an older neighborhood, and that if we had been in one of the newer neighborhoods with the tony town homes or the apartment complexes, we would probably see more supporters with their better mix of younger and more diverse populations. Even so, there was a good amount of support and the Obama lawn signs definitely outnumbered the McCain ones in this previously solid Republican suburb of Philadelphia.

What else gives me optimism? Some friends that were sure to vote Republican in the past are definitely voting for Obama. Even those that will still vote for McCain admit that Obama is an impressive candidate and do not seem to be horrified by the possibility of him becoming President as in past years with Kerry or Gore. I see all of this as evidence of a general change in the mood of the local electorate that can only be a reflective microcosm of the nation as a whole.

Lastly, there are those feelings that are purely based in the "audacity of hope." For those of us who have called for a more civil dialogue and more civil political conversation over the recent past, Obama is definitely a candidate whose messages of inclusion, upliftment, but firm action definitely resonate. Obama has been unique in his ability to so eloquently weave his own personal narrative into the fabric of this quilt that we call America. He appeals to those of us who despise slogans like "Country First" spoken by the same people that yell "kill him". The well being of this country - our country - is first and foremost in all of our minds, especially those who wish to provide an even better tomorrow for our kids.

I look forward to tomorrow.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one independent (who is supporting Obama) to another, thought you'd be interested in checking out www.independentvoting.org, especially the video on the home page.

Gwen

Tuesday, November 04, 2008  
Blogger MyView said...

Thank You for the link and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008  

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