As January 20th approaches, the anniversary of Obama's first year in the White House, I think most of us are still happy and relieved that he is our president, despite the few disappointments and miscalculations we each personally attribute to him.
I'm an American living in Paris who decided last October to return to the US to help out in any way possible to get Barack Obama elected. I ended up working at the Chicago headquarters on Lake Street until the grand finale -- election night -- at Grant Park.
As a professional photographer, I documented that entire 5 week trip, which has now been edited into a slideshow, one that I feel will resonate on this one-year anniversary when we may need to be reminded about our monumental and historic achievement and what we still need to fight for.
The dream did happen as tens of thousands of volunteers and staffers from high school and college-aged students to senior citizens, and every age in between, most of whom had never been politically active before, became political junkies in an election season.
This fervor gripped us all as we believed in the hope and possibilities that Barack Obama represented. We skipped meals, family functions, school meetings, classes, happy hours, workouts, often a good night's sleep, for a devoted and committed mission that would, well, save the nation, if not the world.
Most of us were volunteers who had never before canvassed or door-belled in our neighborhoods; we had never registered voters or manned phone banks at an election headquarters; we had never gone to caucuses or driven in carpools not only to nearby towns and cities, but also to nearby states to shake the trees for voter registrants and to encourage voter turnout on election day.
The growing sense of optimism that stretched from coast to coast and border to border galvanized a nation to rise up from the couch of apathy, shame, and righteous anger, dating back to a stolen election in 2000, in order to turn the most unimaginable page in American history.
This slideshow is a heartfelt salute to all who worked so hard and were able to finally exult and say, "Yes we did!"
We would all do well to remember how motivated and excited we were, and to perhaps reconnect with the positive energy and hope that surely still resides within each of us, though somewhat tempered due to the numerous obstacles and incredibly difficult challenges Obama has (we have) confronted during these last twelve months.
Obama invoked FDR early on in his presidency, telling us to make him do what we want him to do. So, as January 20th approaches -- the anniversary of Obama's first year in the White House -- I hope this will remind us of our monumental and historic achievement. We were victorious and rose to the challenge 14 months ago. Let's use that same energy and sense of purpose in making him help us in all that we still need to fight for.
Our best ally is the guy we put in the White House.
(For everyone in the images, please use the contact button on the slide show page...I'd love to hear from you.)