Today’s FYI: Status check for President Obama, Democrats and you

Well, despite my crazy schedule lately, I wanted to check in and see how we’re all doing as the conventions end and the big push toward November 6 begins. I have tried to drop in on some blogs today and read some of the most recent posts y’all have been writing. Lots of good stuff out there, and I wish I had more free time this morning to read and comment on more of your blogs (that’s something I plan to do ASAP, though, because I’ve missed seeing what you folks have had to say). However, at the moment, I am still pressed for time due to a bunch of different things. Some are the usual daily grind – work, kid, school, etc.

But there are a couple of other things occupying my time in recent days. For example, yesterday I spent several hours in line along with hundreds of other Floridians, hoping to grab a couple of tickets to the speech/rally that President Obama will be holding here in Palm Beach this coming Sunday. And, since I was lucky enough to get those tickets, I will be spending this Sunday in more lines, and getting cleared by Secret Service, and standing, and waiting, and waiting some more. I’ve seen Barack Obama speak before, but that was when he was a candidate and not our president. Even then it was a long, difficult day, so I know that what is in store for me on Sunday will be that experience all over again, times 10.

Oh, I’ve got a Golden Ticket…

What I also know, however, is that this hassle will all be worth it. I have never doubted that for a second, and even if I would have, last night’s closing speech at the Democratic National Convention was all I’d need to overcome that doubt.

I’ve seen some commentary about the president’s speech, both online and on TV. A lot of what I’ve seen has focused on some perceived decrease in the firepower of his words. I’ve seen comparisons to his previous convention appearances from 2004 and 2008, and to some out there, the comparison made last night’s speech look tame, reserved, even somewhat defeated.

Let me tell you what I saw. I saw a man who was probably just as disappointed with the past few years as many Americans are. I saw a man who understood why people may have expected more from him – but I also saw a man who understands that people’s expectations were nothing compared to what he expected of himself. I saw a man who has been down a very bitter road, and who probably did not realize in 2008 just how bitter it could possibly be. There is no doubt that President Obama struck a different tone this year than he had in years past. As he himself acknowledged, things ARE different now. He IS different now. To ignore the reality of that would be dishonest, and the president understood that completely.

But to me, that change in tone did not signal defeat, or dispiritedness, or disillusionment. It signaled an awareness of our ongoing problems, and a resolve not to walk away from them. When Obama spoke in 2008, he had the winds of change at his back and the goodwill of much of the nation on his side. Last night, he had to address this nation knowing that many of the people in it felt disappointed in him, or less enthusiastic about him – and that there are some who flat out hate him. He couldn’t help but be more somber this time around. Nobody expected the swaggering, almost giddy narrative that accompanied his campaign back then, and anyone who DID expect that doesn’t know much about the man who has been living in the White House for the past 4 years.

He told us exactly this last night: “I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President.” He accepts responsibility for what he has done – and for what he was not able to do – in the time he’s had so far. And he has no intention on ducking out on those responsibilities. He knows there is still work to be done, and he is ready, willing and able to do it. He is clearly battle-scarred, but he is not scared of continuing these battles he’s been fighting for all of us. He is battered, but not broken. He, like so many of us, is humbled by hardship, but not about to roll over and give up.

It was easier to get “fired up and ready to go” four years ago. It was easier to hope for change four years ago. It was easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel four years ago. But that doesn’t mean we should stop now. It means we must redouble our efforts. As the president said last night, we’re in this together, and he’s relying on us as much as we’re relying on him. If we want him to do right by us, we must make sure he has the chance to do so. And the time to do that is now.

While I was waiting for tickets at the Organizing for America office yesterday, I saw how much they needed help. They were doing the best they could, but they clearly needed more manpower and were trying hard to recruit volunteers from those of us standing in line.  They repeatedly told the crowd that even an hour makes a huge difference, and I can personally vouch that this is true.

I am hoping that all of you who want to see this president return to Washington in January are already involved in some way. I hope you are talking to neighbors and friends, canvassing neighborhoods, signing up new voters, donating whatever you can spare of your time, money and talent – something. ANYTHING. And if you haven’t yet, I hope you will. Soon.

There are Organizing for America offices all over the US. Find out where the one closest to you is located, and get there if you can. Even if you truly can’t volunteer, do something that would help them out. They are working with bare bones staffs and resources. If you can spare $3.99 for a 24-pack of bottled water, or grab a couple reams of copy paper for them next time you go to Target or Wal-Mart, or maybe even drop by with some Dunkin’ Donuts and a simple “thank you”, it would do so much to keep them going. Nobody is more fired up than these folks, and I mean NOBODY. They deserve your support as much as the president does, and by helping them, you help him in so many indescribably valuable ways.

I’ve read your posts. I know you were satisfied with the speeches at the DNC, and I know you still believe in Barack Obama. I’m glad you took the time to discuss it with all of us. Now I hope you’ll take those sentiments and turn them into action. There is so much to do, and not that much time in which to get it done. Please don’t let yourself be part of the reason  that Mitt Romney becomes our next president. Make sure we win this thing for the man we call President Obama.

I hope to have some time to post again after I see the president this weekend. But if I don’t, it’ll be because I’m helping my fellow Floridians get fired up and ready to go again. 🙂

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18 thoughts on “Today’s FYI: Status check for President Obama, Democrats and you

  1. Thanks John, I have all kinds of running around to do today but I gave myself some time to come do a post and get that off my chest! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and nice to see you – hope you and yours are well.

    • Thank you Ted, and I know you’re spreading the word too, so thanks to you for your efforts as well! I’ve missed so much of the writing folks are doing around here, but from the time I have spent reading up on what I’ve missed, I know you are fighting the good fight as always. And I’m so glad you are! 🙂

  2. Excellent post as usual. I have been in my community as well here in San Diego to get the message out of how important it is for everyone who isn’t registered to vote to go and register and vote. If people can give 1 hour of their lives to watching Keeping up with the Kardashians who’s not going to do shit for you, you can give up 10 minutes to fill out a registration form to vote for someone who is going to do shit for you. Have a great time Sunday!!!

    • Thank you! And as for your observation about the Kardashians, damn right. As Janet would say to Kim. K, “What have you done for me lately?” Besides killing more of the few functioning brain cells we all have left, that is… 🙂 I can’t wait for Sunday and if I can get some photos or video to share, I’ll post ’em here as soon as I can.

    • I agree, he did just what he should have done. The same pundits who are criticizing his speech for being too blah would have been the first to rip him if he’d come off as overly boastful about his term so far. He struck the proper balance between acknowledging the difficulties of the past, and committing to working for better results in the future.

  3. I have to admit I was somewhat let down by Obama’s acceptance speech. It didn’t seem to offer anything much more concrete than the pathetic ones Romney and Ryan gave last week. I’ve lost a lot of faith in government and business to create and maintain a stable economy. All the quaint platitudes and flag-waving won’t save the U.S. from further decimation by the rich and powerful. The Republicans are thugs, and the Democrats are wimps. I don’t think either cares about the average American’s best interest.

    • I would have welcomed more concrete details, too. But I think Obama’s strategy was to let Clinton take on the role of policy wonk. He was probably hoping that the facts and figures would already have been laid out by Clinton and digested by the audience by the time he had to speak himself, which would free him up to take a different tone. Again, I don’t think anyone in the Democratic base would have been upset if Obama had been more specific, but then again the debates will be a great forum for those exact types of things, particularly when they’re being presented alongside Romney’s ideas and a contrast can be made very easily.

      The Democrats do need to grow a backbone, as Deval Patrick said in his DNC speech last week. Without that then you’re right – the rich and powerful will run roughshod over this nation until there’s nothing left for them to pillage.

  4. Awesome post! What you saw in Obama last night I believe was spot on! He knew he was going to face a lot of adversity when he first was elected – I just don’t think he realized how bad it would be. Then to hear McConnell state their goal is to make sure Obama is a one-term President… that crap gets tiring. But with Obama, I think it makes him more determined. I’m sure what was also going through his mind was the fact that our country would be recovering faster than it is if he had a Congress that worked with him, and not against him.

    I’m jealous… I would love to see him speak. I do hope you have a wonderful time!

    • Thanks Michelle! I really do believe that Obama was blindsided by the opposition once he took office, mainly because it was not the same sort of party against party opposition that has existed in Congress for decades. It was so much more personal and it was more venomous against him (as a person, not even just as a president) than this country has ever seen before.

      • “Venomous” is the PERFECT description I have been looking for! That’s exactly what it is like.. McConnell, Boehner, and some others have a hatred that’s venomous. I love it! Well, not the fact that this is happening, just that you found the perfect word that describe the situation.

  5. I like you thought his speech was honest and well done, showed the man and the President. As my husband and I watched the speech we were both struck by so many things, but we both reacted differently to his single statement;

    “I am the President”

    My husband said, ‘stick it to them!’

    I said, I think he is humbled by his role. I think he is not proud. While many people have reacted as my husband did, I think what came after this statement is more aligned to my first reaction. I remain committed to our President, have I been disappointed by some of his decisions? Of course I have, not always because of obstructionism either. It would be impossible to support every decision though, that would say I am not a thinking person. But on the whole, this President, this man is the right President and the right man for the job.

  6. Chris, excellent post. Warren Buffett said about the President he is the best editor of information he has ever seen. He went on to say he listens to everyone and that helps him make an informed choice. Our problems are complex and our political parties are not working together to solve them. I think he has a greater appreciation of the complexity than many other Presidents. The truth is he has done a much better job on the economy than the opposition give him credit, but not as well as he or all of us would like. For example, the Stimulus Plan actually worked per very reputable economists, yet the GOP has a mantra of “failed stimulus.” Romney and the GOP platform is a very weak option as I see them as a true independent voter. Best regards, BTG

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