Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's Restore Hope: Obama in '08

What an awesome responsibility politicians owe to their constituents. As public figures we expect them to act judiciously, courageously, unselfishly and honestly. Yet, time and again, their humanness seems to get in the way, and the simple qualities we expect them to engender slowly erode away. And then we lose trust, hope and inspiration. But, we constantly seek intelligent leaders who will inspire us with vision and honesty - and every election we anticipate that somebody will step out from behind the curtain - who will be decent and humble despite being a politician who must wield influence and power to get their job done. Maybe it’s an oxymoron to expect both. Or maybe not, I still want to believe it is possible.

The first time I ever heard of Barack Obama was at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Like many Americans, I was stirred by his speech. Like many Americans, I remember thinking what a great candidate he would have made for president… and then like many Americans I thought, no way - he’s young, he’s black and nobody knows him. So, when he announced his candidacy last February, I was thrilled, but wary.

And then I watched his Victory speech in Iowa Tuesday night and I was sold. Until that moment, I wasn’t exactly sure who I would be supporting - although Obama was cautiously my answer when somebody would ask me. I realized that the Democrats can nitpick and debate over the issues all they want, because at the end of the day, I can live with the positions of any of them. So, who moves me? Who inspires me? Who do I want to trust the future of our country and this world to? Who represents the person I would want my children to respect and maybe even think of as a hero? Hands down, it would be Barack Obama, and so I have registered to volunteer for his campaign despite his youth, his color, his relative inexperience. I believe he is that person who has stepped out from behind the curtain to lead us with intelligence, integrity, pride and humility.

So I signed up to volunteer to work on his campaign, because to win, he needs everyone to help. Back in February when he announced his run for the Presidency he said,

That's why this campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us — it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice — to push us forward when we're doing right, and to let us know when we're not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. 

I have always taken my role in the Democratic process seriously and I have been one to believe that my vote, my voice counts. Despite our soiled reputation in the world and despite the lying and pomposity that has regaled this administration and despite the message of fear and the eroding of our civil rights that we have become accustomed to, I want to believe there is hope. I want to feel proud to be an American and I want my children to believe that this process can work and that we can each play a vital role in making it happen.

Obama’s word’s Tuesday night touched me. Hope.

Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.


To join the Obama Campaign, click here.
To view Obama's Iowa Victory speech click here.
For the written text of Obama’s Iowa Victory Speech, click here.
To view a great documentary about Obama’s past year and hear some of his entire speeches instead of the sound bytes we hear on the news, click here.


Don Mills Diva said...

I am watching the primaries in your country with great interest. Obama seems to have a certain something that is usually missing from politicians - he is a very inspiring figure.

Anonymous said...

I am still unsure of whether I will support him or Clinton, and I love to read other people's insights on the matter.