Barack Obama pulled off something special last night with his impressive victory in the Iowa caucuses, and while I’m always reluctant to declare “history in the making” while still in the moment, it’s hard not to get caught up in the glorious potential of that moment.
“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”
“I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”
“This was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear, and doubt, and cynicism; the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. This was the moment. Years from now, you’ll look back and you’ll say that this was the moment – this was the place – where America remembered what it means to hope.”
I supported Dennis Kucinich in 2004 even though I knew he had no shot, because he was the candidate closest to my beliefs, the one who represented a real change from the status quo. I made my first political donations ever to his well-intentioned but ill-fated campaign — approx. $200 over three donations, IIRC — and made tentative steps towards getting involved in his campaign by attending both a MeetUp and a fundraising event before he was completely pushed to the margins once it became about Kerry vs. Edwards.
2004’s results broke my heart a little bit, though, and my spirit, and I was planning to sit on the sidelines during the primaries this time around, fully expecting to have to cross my fingers and hold my nose again while pulling the lever for whichever compromised candidate the Democrats put forward, the faintest hope that Mayor Bloomberg would decide to join the fray keeping total despair at bay. I ignored the phone calls and emails from Kucinich’s campaign requesting my support again; ignored most of the coverage of the other campaigns until last month; ignored my gut instinct that this election was too important to ignore…
Barack Obama, though, has given me the unique opportunity to support a candidate I can wholeheartedly get behind and who actually has a chance to win. Of course, I don’t agree with him on every single issue, same as I didn’t agree with Kucinich on every single issue, but I admire the passion, the sincerity, and most importantly, the urgency he has brought to his campaign, to this election, to this crucial moment in American history where we have a legitimate opportunity to choose between jumping off the cliff once again or carving out a new path.
I look forward to doing whatever I can to help that happen, and I hope anyone reading this will consider joining me. One immediate way to get involved is via my personal fundraising campaign called “Spare Change for Real Change” wherein I am attempting to raise $1,000 for Obama’s campaign. Every little bit helps, even as little as $10, and I’ve kicked things off with a $50 donation of my own. Whether it’s 19 more people donating $50, or 95 people donating $10, or some combination that adds up to $1,000, I think it’s a reasonable and achieveable goal and hope whomever is reading this will help out.
I’ve also signed up as a volunteer at BarackObama.com, and am looking forward to doing everything I can to put NY in Obama’s column on Tuesday, February 5th, and beyond that, possibly even traveling to another key state to work for his campaign for a couple days.
I sincerely believe he can win not just the Democratic nomination, but the general election itself, and I realize that this is the most critical election that will likely ever take place in my lifetime and I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and regret not having done enough.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqoFwZUp5vc]
ETA: Check out the full text of Obama’s speech last night.