I got home to New York late last night after spending a whirlwind month in Europe. But the high point of the last few weeks was back here in America on Tuesday night, the culmination of years of hard work and a long national discussion.
I knew I wanted to participate in President Obama’s re-election for a long time, but the timing wasn’t great for me to take a more substantial role (couldn’t miss this!). I was lucky to have friends who stayed involved with the campaign and allowed me to jump right into the effort when I got back. I joined friends and Grinnell alumni in visiting poor, black and Democratic-leaning areas of Richmond, Virginia to encourage folks to vote in the election. It was a special feeling to knock on the doors of perfect strangers and see their expressions change from suspicion to hope when they saw the blue Obama/Biden buttons pinned on our coats.
Virginia was a toss-up state where a handful of votes could make the difference. Not only was it incredible to see the President re-elected and his progressive vision re-affirmed, it was especially gratifying to see Virginia, the heart of the old Confederacy with major highways named after Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, vote for a black leader. Whatever impact I had was trivial, but it made me feel like part of something, part of a movement to push our country toward a fairer, more just and equal ideal.
Though it was a triumphant moment, I recognize that it isn’t during these times that change is wrought and our national character is defined. It’s the aggregate sum of our actions and decisions on a daily basis in both our private and public lives. And as the time to celebrate passes, the time to carry on the hard work of progress persists. Forward.
After a full day of canvassing in Richmond and Petersburg on Sunday 11/4. John Howard, myself, Sarah Labowitz, Julia Kent and Christina Sass.
Driving duty on our way to Richmond on election day (11/6).
All in good spirits – John Tye, Sébas and David Gearey out of frame.
John Tye and Sébas doing some planning at a volunteer coordinator’s house in Richmond.
Sarah and a very cheerful volunteer.
One of many canvassing maps.
Regrouping at the South Richmond campaign office. At 6:40PM we went to gas stations and 7/11’s to find last-minute stragglers we could drive to the polls. Sarah, Sébas and John Tye.
At the last door knocked! Sébas, Sarah Labowitz, myself and David Gearey. John Tye was kind enough to take the photo.
Watching returns come in back in Washington. A euphoric feeling when CNN called it for Obama and Fox followed suit. Karl Rove’s face above the “Barack Obama Re-elected President” banner was priceless.
CNN calling Virginia for Obama. Obama went on to win by about 3%.
Obama’s speech at the U-Street field office. An incredible night.