John Porter is an OffTheBus grassroots correspondent. Each week he contributes a campaign journal documenting his life out on the trail.
It amazes me that a common cause can often bring together people with such positive results. Coming together in difficult situations, whether they are hardship or a hard fought political campaign, can bring out the best in people. I witnessed this coming together on so many levels this week that it was really rejuvenating and energizing for the final leg of the presidential race.
The activity at the Campaign for Change office has been higher this week than usual, an indication that the excitement of the end of the election season is upon us. A new shipment of yard signs helped to drive much of the excitement in the office. For some reason, yard signs have been rare commodities in this area and the arrival of 400 of them set the mood for an exciting week. There were six of us working on assembling the signs, including a mother and her two grown daughters. The truth of the matter is that the seemingly endless sea of signs was made much easier by the camaraderie of the group. There was a lot of chatting and laughing and the evening seemed to pass by in a moment.
For a change up from the usual phone canvassing of voters in the area, I accepted an invitation from the National Call Team group on the Obama campaign site to make calls to people who have assisted the campaign in the past. My job was to call volunteers who had used the online call tool, thank them for their previous help, and ask them to continue using the tool this week. It was refreshing to speak with supporters, and even more refreshing to hear support from the other end of the line.
"Hi, my name is John and I'm calling on behalf of the Barack Obama presidential campaign," I said when the contact identified herself.
"Wow! That's great!" the woman said. "It is good to hear from a fellow supporter. Thanks for what you are doing."
Taken off guard for a moment, I answered back, "Well, that was what I was calling about. I was calling to thank you for helping with the campaign, and encourage you to continue your great work for the coming week."
Hearing the gratitude coming from the other end was a great uplifting moment. I feel that it serves as some sort of testament to the positive nature of the ground campaign the country over. Imagine two volunteers, one in West Virginia, one in California, connecting through the simple act of phone banking and the exchange of mutual gratitude.
The excitement was pumped up at our campaign office by a visit from our Congressional representatives. Both Senator Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall were on hand for a rally at the Democratic headquarters this past Saturday. It is very telling that, though both men are facing their own reelection campaigns, they devote much of their campaign time to supporting the presidential bid of Barack Obama. The crowd of nearly 200 got cozy in the headquarters for the speeches given by both candidates.
Rep. Rahall poses with me and my friend/fellow volunteer Crystal.
Senator Rockefeller was generous with his praise of Barack Obama. He poignantly stated that this time in our history calls for a leader who is "intelligent" and "eloquent", both for our current economic crisis and our place in global community. He compared our current situation to the one that the American people faced during the election of 1932, where the citizens needed a president to tackle the dire economic crisis of the Great Depression. Roosevelt stood up to the challenge, stating in his nomination acceptance address "Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth... I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people... This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms." It took a dramatic shift in the American political landscape to overcome the troubles of that era, and a dramatic shift appears to be in the works as the answer to our current issues.
The energy and devotion to change that we are experiencing here in West Virginia is no doubt happening the country over. As we approach the final week before the election, we all are coming together to work for the common good. We are all coming together to affect change. We are the owners of our own fates, and for the next week, the fate of the country is resting squarely in the hands of Americans. If the hopefulness and positivity of the volunteers working to get Barack Obama elected is any indication of the next four years, we are definitely in for the change that we truly do need in this country.
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