Here's a Sunday-evening update from Obama campaign volunteer Oliver Renwick, age 21, in Columbus Ohio:
"I'm struggling to put this bizarre and disparate weekend into words.
But I saw something happen this morning that brought it all back home. I finally understood something, I felt things I don't think I've ever felt.
This morning I saw Barack Obama speak for the second time, on the steps of the Ohio statehouse, and eventually got about ten feet away from him; heady tonic, that.
Today was not just a stump speech; it was a closing argument in a long-fought battle. He was there with his entire family. I was there with my best friend Kevin, and we were dancing with the group of African-American thirtysomethings in front of us to the soul music they were playing while we waited for Barack to take the stage. Kevin and I would talk about it later, but the simple fact of the matter was, I was inspired this morning. I have been fascinated by people before, but with perhaps one exception, I don't think I've ever been inspired by someone--Much less by a politician.
"For one third of my life," Kevin said, "Almost a third of yours, I have lived under an oppressive regime."
"Proto-fascist, you might say?" I asked.
"Well, I wouldn't go that far..."
"Actually, well, yes."
And on Tuesday, that might, finally, change.
Barack Obama really does believe he can solve all those problems--that together, we can solve the problems facing us. He believes in the power of intelligent people working things out, of human beings coming together and communicating, and solving problems. He really does have that hope; it's not just a campaign.
And for the first time in my life, I have hope on a wider scale for the world. For the past eight years, paying attention to politics in the US has given me a sense of chaotic vertigo, swirling towards oblivion. But Barack believes. And I believe him. Thirty-seven and a half hours from now, polls will open here. Forty-eight hours from now, we might know who wins this election.
And I certainly hope it's Senator Obama. Because if not, I think this country will rip itself apart. But beyond that, beyond Tuesday and the effects of Tuesday, I will carry with me this hope, this call to make things happen, that I learned this morning.
Ohio: The Heart of it All.
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