To really tell anyone what it meant to be part of the Obama/Biden 2012 campaign team right from central command in Chicago is not an easy task. Although my role wasn’t so big, and was completely on a volunteer basis, it was a labor of love that will probably never be matched in my life again.
I started with the campaign in the summer of 2011. It quickly became my favorite place to be. Every time I walked in there, I had a sense of purpose, and a sense of excitement, and always a sense of honor. I knew that this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I was going to give it my all—for my President, for my country, and for my future.
I have met some really amazing and dedicated people, all working for the same cause—many fellow volunteers that I’m proud to call friends, and many staff members—all of whom the President mentioned in his election night speech…as the BEST campaign team….EVER.
There have been tough days up there, and many beautiful and memorable days. I want to fast forward to the most memorable day ever….not election night itself, which was just an incredible experience, and one of the happiest days ever. I want to talk about the day after the election. As tired as I was the day after election, I wanted to go into campaign headquarters for sentimental reasons…I wanted to know how the place was feeling the day after, and wanted to bask in the victory with everyone up there–and the phones were ringing off the hook…
I take a call from a woman from the South Side of Chicago. She was calling regarding an issue with a donation she had made. I took her information about the issue, and was saying my goodbye and thank you, when she asked me if she could share a story with me. I told her, of course she could. She proceeded to tell me that she never really intended to tell this story because she never wanted it to be about her, or draw attention to herself about it. She knew this might be her last chance to tell someone involved in the campaign. I said okay. She says she knew Barack Obama almost 30 years ago, back when he was doing work for ACORN, and their fight to end the destructive industrial pollution going on in the area, pollution that was potentially harming those residents. Barack, as she called him, was concerned about the children, and whether this would give them cancer. He was quite passionate about the work he was doing. She was involved in the work as well, but not as much as he was.
She continued to tell me how back then Barack didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t own a car. He would walk miles and miles to participate in these activities and campaigns. Sometimes, she would see him walking, and she would pull over and ask him if he’d like a ride. He always said yes, and always expressed his gratitude. She was always impressed at his passion for doing the right thing, and his compassion for those who may be suffering. But more than that, she was struck by–his shoes. For his shoes had holes in them. And he was always wearing the same Khaki pants he wore every time she saw him. But Barack Obama was a determined man, and would simply do what he needed to do for others, regardless of his own needs.
Now, this woman continued, did she ever think this man would be President Of The United States one day, No. But is she surprised? No—because she said, that man, sitting next to her in that car, so humble and so determined, is STILL THAT MAN today. I told her that was a wonderful story and thanked her for sharing it with me.
Now, two hours later, this man, President Barack Obama is standing before me, and of course, several hundred others who all worked so hard to get him re-elected. This man, so proud, so smart, so patriotic, and so incredibly humble, thanks us all for our incredible hard work. Tears run down his face as he speaks, and you look around, and we’re all choked up right along with him. This man, our President, is still THAT MAN, and I, at that moment, had a feeling of validation, like I have never felt in my life.
And if that wasn’t enough, when he was done, we were told to return to our seats, and the President would come around to us. Let me repeat, we did not go to the President, The President came to us…each and every one of us. Moments later, I received a hug and a thank you from Our President. Amazing. Just Amazing.
If you, or anyone you know, has any question about who Barack Obama is, tell them this story. Special? Barack Obama is as SPECIAL as it gets. He gets it….because HE IS IT. This fight was the right fight, and worth every moment of time and energy it took from so, so many of us.
Barack Obama, the 44th President Of The United States. YES HE IS. Thank you Mr. President. We have never been so proud to have your back. See you at the Inauguration. We move FORWARD. Indeed. Peace.