I flew back from Denver last night on a plane full of Obama volunteers who were working Colorado to get out the vote. The pilot reported during the flight that McCain had conceded and the entire plane erupted in cheers the same way it did in the hotel bar when CNN called Pennsylvania and at the airport bar when Ohio went for Obama.
The excitement is palpable – electricity in the air stuff. Dan, one of the volunteers on the plane, came down the aisle to get everyone’s email address so he could start a mailing list of those that went through this experience together. When I asked him what it was like to knock on doors for the past few days, he said without any hint of sarcasm, it was a “religious experience.”
You never know what you’re going to get when someone opens up that door. Some give you the brush-off, some you need to tell them to put down their beer. But when you tell them that you travelled 1,000 miles because their vote is more important than yours, they listen.
In the end, there are the ones that can’t make it to the polls, their mother isn’t home from work yet, whatever. To those you say, “You know what, I’m going to make this fun for you, this is going to be a fun night.” In the end, they thank you for looking out for them. I don’t care who they vote for, it’s just the act of bonding with a fellow citizen that made it so worth it.
Two buddies of mine went to Nevada to volunteer and one of them, Jonathan Strauss, made a very good point in a post he did on his Blackberry, before the polls even closed. In a post titled, Why we’ve already won, Jonathan said that Barack Obama, even if he loses, has brought us all together in an important way.
I am so glad that we collectively feel this way – Barack has inherited a mess that is going to take everyone’s help to haul us above water again. To be walking into the Oval Office now is more challenging today that it’s been in a long while. But I can’t think of a better person than Barack to represent us abroad and lead us domestically to make things happen. If anyone can call on us to trust him to while we make individual sacrifices for the greater good, it’s Barack Obama.
I read somewhere that what we’ve done by electing a minority as President is the equivalent of the UK electing a Jamaican to lead their country. In one fell swoop we’ve pulled a rabbit out of the hat and shown the world that we really do stand by our creed that all men are created equal.
I’m really proud to be an American today.