Nancy Bruski is a Grassroots Correspondent for HuffPost's OffTheBus.
Departing from Illinois early Sunday morning to help my dear friend's son, who is a Field Organizer in the Sheboygan, WI Obama office with his get-out-the-vote efforts there, I was seized with multiple feelings, all pretty intense. I was excited. I was terrified. I was eager to get past Tuesday. I was afraid something would go wrong. I was delighted that this movement has taken hold and we may be, at long last, on the verge of getting our country back from the guys who have stolen it over the past eight years.
As always, once we actually started knocking on doors, great things happened. The neighborhoods we walked through were not entirely Obama neighborhoods, to be sure. There were McCain signs, and sometimes the houses we were sent to were spread out quite far, meaning there were numbers of non-Obama houses in the area. However, the enthusiasm I encountered from the Obama voters, none of whom seemed to mind at all that I was interrupting the sacred Sunday ritual of watching the Packers play football, was exciting to behold. A number were proud to announce that they had already voted, and a few I had to work hard to convince to vote early on Monday, the last day of early voting.
We even visited a nursing home, and spoke to some elderly residents, most of whom had already voted for Obama--absentee. One was particularly friendly, a woman in a wheelchair that was adorned with red white and blue pinwheels and small American flags, who was most pleased to tell us that she had already cast her vote for Obama. All of the people we dropped in on were pleased to see us and glad to accept our deep appreciation for their already cast votes.
But the most moving event of the day, by far, was the encounter I had with a 40-ish man with a huge Obama/Biden sign in his yard, just off a major road. He explained that he had been for Edwards and hadn't really liked Obama much, had kind of lost interest in the campaign after Edwards dropped out, but had recently been listening to Obama and has become quite an enthusiast. He told me that he is a Desert Storm vet, showed me his large POW-MIA tatoo that he has on his arm, and said that he thought McCain was supportive of Vets, but had learned otherwise, much to his dismay. He proudly announced that he was going to the polls on Tuesday and taking five friends with him to vote for Obama. He sounded excited, despite the sad story he told of working two jobs, one during the day cleaning up people's lawns and one at night at a nearby factory that was about to lay off many workers before Xmas. He expected that he'd be one of them, and spoke of possibly getting a job at a windmill factory about 30 miles from his home, but he was afraid his old car wouldn't be able to make it on those long drives. He told me he was excited about universal healthcare and the help for the working people that Obama would bring, and he had a lot of positive energy, despite his rather bleak circumstances.
I walked away from his house, and the tears just came. This is what this campaign is about...this is what America is about...this man is a real American hero, just a working guy trying very hard, against great odds, to make it every day. He took the time to talk with me and he still has enthusiasm and a positive outlook, it was profoundly affecting. I cried for the mess our country is in, I cried for the impact Obama is having on Americans from all walks of life around the country, and I cried with joy over the possibility of getting our country back!