Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hope in Action

[Milo’s Note: A friend sent me this report on the celebration Tuesday night at Democratic headquarters in Bend, Oregon. But Mary also told of how she and her daughter had worked in the national and local races. I asked her if I could print her report as a guest column and she agreed. I know it is not a scientific measure, but there has not been another election where I can remember as many of my friends all over the country being actively involved “in the trenches” as in this election. I suspect that many of you have had similar experiences. Was the motivation desperation or hope? Desperation is sometimes the condition necessary to jump start our hope-in-waiting to hope-in-action. Whatever it was, the nation owes you thanks!]

I’ve enjoyed reading your articles, and I agree that one of
Obama’s unique gifts is his cross-cultural understanding. I also agree that his gift is desperately needed now. I think that the other countries of the world are so excited about him because they understand his gift and its importance.

My daughter and I were at the Bend Community Center on November 4, watching the returns with Democrats and local Democratic candidates who put on a big party for all the supporters. We had several big screen TV sets and pizza, salad, and beverages for one and all. My daughter was hired by Future PAC, a political action committee, to be a field director for Judy Steigler’s campaign, and she had a number of door-to-door canvassers working under her. It was easy for her to hire canvassers due to the economy and people’s need for work.

I did a lot of phone canvassing for Judy, as well as some canvassing for Barack Obama and Jeff Merkeley. I really enjoy talking with the voters. Of course, by November 3 people were sick of all the political calls, but I just decided that this was democracy in action and even though I sympathized with people I kept making my calls.

At the election night party we had a great turnout. It seemed like no time had passed before CNN declared Obama the winner and great rejoicing erupted from the crowd. People were jumping up and down, hugging each other, screaming, and then grabbing for the cell phones to notify their friends. People ran outside and popped balloons and cheered. It was so exciting to be part of it, and later as I talked with young people I realized that for many of them it was the first time they really felt hope and eagerness for the future.

Poor Obama now has a great load of expectation on his shoulders, not only from his fellow Americans but from Kenya and the whole world! I hope people will realize that due to the economic circumstances and the great number of critical issues that must be dealt with that they will have to be patient because not everything can happen at once. He is not the Messiah returned!

Anyway, I and many, many friends and family members are joyful and hugely relieved at the election’s outcome. My daughter told me something sad, however. A man she works with is very fearful because he is convinced that Obama is a terrorist. Obama’s election has frightened this man, and my daughter is not sure what to say to bring him comfort

We must keep in mind that there are many people who are very scared or angry. I hope Obama can reassure people and bring us together as Americans.

Anyway, we can continue to live by hope.
- Mary

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