Sweating It for the Birthday Boy
When the call went out for a special canvass in Portsmouth, NH, to celebrate Barack Obama's 46th birthday, I eagerly signed up, knowing I'd be within an easy hour's drive from Ocean Park, Maine. I joined about 12 other volunteers at the headquarters in Portsmouth and paired up with Will Gattis of Falmouth, a talented 19-year-old singer-songwriter who believes a change is needed, and Obama is the guy who can do it. "Like the bumper sticker says, 'If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention,'" Will told me during a break in our work. Our assignment took us to Dover, NH, and a neighborhood of well-kept, modest homes where [90 percent] MOST of the people on our lists were "NH" or "Not Home," according to the code which we entered on the call sheets. We left lots of flyers and each drank a quart of POWERade when we were half-way through.
One of my favorite encounters was with a man who was home and who said he is undecided on which Democratic candidate to support. He gladly took my brochure, and as I left he said, "Thank you for caring." That meant a lot, as I continued on my way dripping wet with sweat, stunned by the heat. I do care. And it felt great to help out in a very small way, letting people know about a candidate whom I believe might actually transform America's politics and standing in the world. I'm fired up, as the candidate likes to say.
I'm glad I will have plenty of chances to visit the Portsmouth office in the months ahead to help out in the crucial first-in-the-nation primary. Obama's New Hampshire organization is growing rapidly and seemed full of energy and smarts today in Portsmouth.
[Several] TWO of the staffers I spoke with said they had "gone to college in Boston," which usually indicates a Harvard grad unwilling to drop "the H-bomb" in casual conversation. Sure enough, they were fellow alums, going to work for Obama right out of the university where the candidate graduated from Law School. Barack explained the reluctance to mention Harvard when he appeared on the Jay Leno Show. Leno asked how come he had mentioned Columbia, where he got his undergraduate degree, but not Harvard. "Nobody likes a smarty-pants," Obama replied with a grin. Well, that's right. But I think the country may be ready for someone who has some smarts and can excel in places as wildly diverse as Harvard Law School, the South Side of Chicago as a community organizer, and the rough-and-tumble Illinois State Legislature.
Saturday, August 04, 2007