Thursday, June 19, 2008

Power to the people: Barack the Vote!

From January 30th, 2008

kid oakland just wrote a great essay about GOTV and Obama. I'd like to add onto that with my personal experiences. But first I want to quote part of his diary.

I've done Democratic politics and GOTV for a long time, and I been thinking about how to convey the nature of this weekend in simple terms, and here's what I'd say. You want to be involved in this. This is Woodstock. This is Florida 2000. This is Ohio 2004. This is a singular moment like 1968. And with a record turnout and the participation of so many young volunteers, this is a chance to truly mosh the vote.

Unlike k/o I have not done GOTV before. I am years younger then him and will be doing GOTV for the first time. But like him and thousands of others I have the same urgency.

My future is at stake. Our future is at stake. Global warming threatens our planet. The American Dream is slipping further and further away. Nuclear proliferation threats our existence. Those are just a few of the challenges that we face. But more importantly 2008 has a chance to be a historic election. We have a real chance in 2008 to fundamentally alter the political landscape in this country. We have a chance to build a new political coalition that will govern in a progressive way for the next generation. The stakes are so high.

But change doesn't come easy. We're going to have to bang down every door, dial 'till our hands bleed, write, talk, raise huge sums of cash and more. Basically we will have to dedicate our lives to this cause if we can and if we can't dedicate every bit of spare time. Change never has come easy.

As I wrote yesterday over 75,000 people are active volunteers in Super Tuesday states. I am one of those here in the great state of Minnesota. Home of Paul Wellstone (RIP Paul and Shelia.)

Some of you know that I number only 14 years. However that has not barred me from becoming a precinct captain. That will not stop me from phone banking and it will not stop me from canvassing. It doesn't stop anyone else my age. When I signed up to become a precinct captain the local organizer told a story of a kid from Iowa (were she was working before) who had been a precinct captain for Dean in 04 when she worked for Dean and was a precinct captain again for Obama this time around. That kid is 14 now (not me).

But I want to share with you a e-mail that I got from one of my heroes from the Obama campaign after SC. His name is Carl Holmquist. He started the Draft Obama movement in Minnesota and has been a amazing organizer since then.

Yesterday, Saturday, was incredible day filled with great joy, wonder, sore feet, and continued belief that us as citizens we can change this politics and this country. Yesterday was my busiest day of my personal campaigning for Obama during this past year. From a Minneapolis canvas, to chanting and having FUN in the streets of downtown St Paul as the ONLY campaign in the Winter Carnival parade, to the caucus training in St Paul with many parts of the African Immigrant community in St Paul bringing new citizens into the process, AND finally the Air America Blue State Ball talking with the political savy including former Kucinch, current Edwards, and undecided voters about Barack Obama.

I found it especially fitting that I found out about South Carolina with my new friends in the African immigrant community. It encapsulizes what this campaign means of inclusiveness, everyone matters, and this is about bringing us together and dismissing the politics of divide. I met a wide spectrum of people yesterday who want to believe that Barack's message of hope, inclusiveness, and grassroots organizing is reality. Iowa, South Carolina, and now Minnesota continues to impress upon people making this dream into reality. In the coming days let's continue to reach out to Minnesotan with this message of hope. One thing that I continue to believe in from my Iowa experience is to do that outreach with respect of their opinion. This holds with one of my core believeths is that you need to "seek to understand before being understood". Engage people in a conversation about Obama but only after you first seek to understand them as a person.

I urge all of you to spend the time that you can during the next 10 days to win Minnesota for Barack Obama. Volunteer at campaign events, organize your own event, canvas your neighborhood, phone bank, talk/email to your friends. Whatever you can!!! Do not wait to act just follow your instincts on what you think is right to do. Just remember that you are representing Barack when you are doing it.

Carl has done so much more for this struggle then I ever have that I thought it would be fit to use his own words as a call to action. Kid Oakland has a much more detailed ways to get involved but I urge you to do GOTV. Not only can it help change the world it can help transform you're life. Even just in my first day of political volunteering back at the Minnesota State Fair I had many lively discussions, made great new friends and had a blast. It's hard to work up the courage at first sometimes but once you've started it can be hard to stop. This my friends is how we take back our country. This is how we take back the world.

"One voice can change a room. And if it can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a country. And if it can change a country, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world!" ~Barack Obama

My friends, be that voice. Get active. And help make sure the GOTV is a success by donating to the Obamathon. We've raised over 25k from over 350 donors many from people who don't have that money to spare. Consider it a thanks to all the dedicated people who will call strangers tomorrow and become friends, who will walk through the cold and knock on doors. Consider it a investment in change.

Democracy begins with you, activism begins with you. Tag, you're it! - Thom Hartmann

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