Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama - He Can't Do It Alone

This past January, during Nevada Democratic primary, I met a man and his wife who inspired me pull my head out of the political sand. I first met Barack Obama online where I researched his biography and positions on the issues. He caught my attention and made me think.

At my local campaign office I met him again. I saw him in the faces of the people manning the phones and typing away at computers. His face was old and young, white, black and brown. These faces welcomed me and my toddler. They played with my son while I made calls to fellow Clark County voters. Obama, through them, encouraged me to step up and be a precinct captain for the caucus.

I met Barack Obama at a Precinct Captain's Rally. He walked into the room and I felt the energy, not just his energy, but the energy he'd ignited in all of us. He was calm, personable and just plain fun as he thanked us for the hours we'd dedicated to his campaign - Our campaign, he said. The primary was in a few days and he knew we'd do our best. We did. My precinct went for Clinton but it was very close. I am most proud of the way the Obama supporters behaved that day while packed inside a school room with 100 other people. It was an example of how I know our nation can behave among ourselves and with the world.

I met him through his wife, Michelle. At a small house party she spoke about her upbringing and her family. She told us her father's advice about how to pick a life partner. She said something like, "My dad said you can tell a good man because he acts the same way when no one is watching as he does when he thinks everyone is watching." My eyes welled up with tears and I thought of my dad. For the first time I was able to put my finger on what made my father so special and the lesson resonated deep within me. It was plain to see that she'd found that sort of man in Barrack.
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I spoke to Senator Obama at a rally in January. He called on me and answered my question about resending the over reaching powers of the Bush administration. His answer was thoughtful and even though I was far from the stage, he looked directly at me. He talked to me. It was a genuine, complete and thoughtful answer to a complicated question. He didn't blow me off with campaign rhetoric. He listened.

That is the kind of president I feel we elected last night...a thoughtful, insightful, inclusive, intelligent man who will take time to make sound decisions, listen to our input and tell us the hard, unvarnished truth. He's asked us to be his partner along the way. The president was never meant to be a dictator or an imperialist. The office was meant to be of equal power to the Senate and the House. He was meant to be a leader, a focal point for our concerns, and a voice to remind us that we are all One with a shared purpose and destiny.

I plan to be engaged. I've got my president elect's back but I'm also a loud voice of descent if need be. I am thinking about my friends and family who are now worried for our future. They didn't see in Senator Obama what I saw. Some of them are very scared. To them I say, don't give into that fear. Don't let it make you cynical or apathetic. Use it to speak up and out, be the squeaky wheel and with Obama's philosophy of inclusion our values will intersect to form a more perfect union. Our country will be better because of you and because of me. So will the world.

Thousands of people are blogging about this very subject today. I've spent the morning reading several but none are as honest and noteworthy as Heather's commentary on her blog, The Wishful Writer. Please take time to read another view. As Obama said last night, "The road will be long. There is much to be done."

15 comments:

thewishfulwriter said...

Your post, about all the ways you've come to know Barack, moved me to tears and called up the chill bumps on my arms.

Thank you for linking to my post - and for the words you spoke to your friends and family who are concerned with our nation's choice. My family is very unhappy right now and I fear their anger/frustration/disappointment and hope it ceases as the decision settles.

thewishfulwriter said...

I'm losing my mind...I could have sworn just posted a comment. Did you get it?

Lisa McGlaun said...

Heather,

LOL...you're not losing your mind. I got it. Thanks for inspiring me to share my memories of this election. I'm very proud of our country and the way we stepped up to the plate yesterday. However anyone voted, we voted and that is what matters.

I've watched the way Obama has handled himself during this past year and I think that by the time January comes around he will have calmed most of the fears...there will always be people who don't agree and for whatever reason wish for something different.

That's what our country is about. I celebrate them and embrace them. Talk to me. Debate me. It will make us both stronger.

Hugs!!!
Lisa

Linda Lou said...

I can't remember a time when I've heard so many people express such a feeling of hope.

God bless Barack Obama!

Fin said...

We felt the same way about him and think he's genuine and thoughtful. He continues to impress me. On one hand I feel we have come so far but when I hear some of the comments made by some I realize we still have far to go.

I hope for a day when we are judged by who we are and what we stand for rather than what we look like.

Meg

Rekaya Gibson said...

Lisa,

I love the personal post about your interaction with Barack and Michelle Obama. It was heartfelt. Thank you for assisting the Democratic Party in turning the state BLUE!

Rekaya Gibson, Author
The Food Temptress
www.foodtemptress.com

Robyn said...

Yesterday was so exciting! I loved reading about your experiences on your blog. I had no idea of your involvement in Obama's campaign - what a great experience to be a part of this historical election.

Red Hen said...

The greeter at my AA meeting last night, a tall, slim beauty named Steph, was greeting folks at the door, not with the usual extended hand and "Hi, welcome," but by repeating, "200-to-90. 200-to-90." Electoral votes. That was at 7 o'clock. SEVEN O'CLOCK!

By 8 I was on my way to what was supposed to be an evening of watching election returns at the home of my friend Sonya's mother, Diane. It was to be a potluck. I was bringing NY-style, home-baked Black- and- White cookies (in honor of racial unity and Obama's heritage, and also because Sonya is, after me, the world's biggest Seinfeld fan --"look to the cookie!" Or she was until Michael Richards had his onstage racist meltdown last year). While I was still on the way there, my sister called from North Carolina and nearly split my eardrums, yelling "HE DID IT! WE WON!" I then nearly screamed myself hoarse, making and receiving calls from my sons. (My son Mike and his wife were going door-to-door in their apartment complex, offering champagne to anyone who answered.)

Hoarse and feeling sure my ears must be bleeding, I made it to Diane's home, where I was surprised to find myself the only white person in a group of ten or so friends and family. Nice people; I've been to their church, where they've made me very welcome in the past. Staunch Christians, they see though the Conservative usurpation of their faith, and repudiate Republian lies. The pride and excitement around the television were palpable, and when Obama finally made his speech, I cried like a baby. Hands rubbed my back, arms reached out to hug me, and everyone rushed to give me Kleenex. I heard some indulgent chuckling, too. Voices around me repeated in wonder, "A black man. President of the United States." I howled louder and soaked my tissues!

I know my Black friends have been waiting about 200 years for this night. I can't know what that feels like. I do know I feel like I've been waiting more than 40 years, at least. Tonight I feel that the promise of the 60s, when I was ten years old and innocent enough to believe in Camelot, that the world would always get better, that the times they were a changin' and this land really was made for you and me, that promise finally has a chance of being fulfilled.

Last night I felt like I got my country back.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Linda,

Have you listened to the news today? I've been listening to NPR and the feelings of leaders and citizens from all over the world. I'm not sure what's happening but it's so inspiring that finally after so long we may again be a welcomed part of the world community.

Lisa

Lisa McGlaun said...

Fin,

All I can do is give you a pat on the head and say Amen!

And to Meg...exactly..we still have a long way to go but let's celebrate this step in the right direction.

Peace,
Lisa

Lisa McGlaun said...

Rekaya,

You know I love you! Thanks for leaving a comment. Anyone who reads this go to Rekaya's website and check out her new book. You will love it!

Lisa

Lisa McGlaun said...

Robyn,

Is this my buddy Robyn?!!! I really hope so. Thank you, thank you for reading and leaving a comment. It means alot to me.

Love you,
Lisa

Lisa McGlaun said...

Helen,

You brought me there with you...into the living room. Wow! What a night for all of us. I'm sure you will never forget those feelings and the people who shared them with you. Thanks for telling me about it.

Love,
Lisa

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Gentledove said...

I was glad to see a black man voted as president. As a european I wonder at the faith Americans have in their politicians, at the beginning of their term in office at any rate.