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.
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. 🙂