Barack Obama's Ace in the Hole
by turnnoblindeye, Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 11:09:10 AM EDT
Cross-posted from DailyKos:
This weekend me and one hundred and sixty of my fellow Obama supporters were taught the secret to this campaign: us. Barack Obama has, first and foremost, reinvested in our success, in our future. And in turn, we have been taught to be better organizers, better leaders, better supporters, and perhaps, better people.
I cannot stress enough how powerful this training was. I feel empowered. No other campaign has ever done anything like this. Barack is pushing down responsibility, asking us to organize ourselves instead of waiting for instructions from the campaign. We are organizing and creating support in a way that no other campaign has ever attempted. We are drawing more small dollar supporters than any campaign ever has before. We are the future.
More specifics below the fold...
What do I mean when I say that Camp Obama was an investment in our future? Most of you expect an event like this to be full of indoctrination and talking points. To some peoples dismay, it was nothing of the sort.
We were first introduced to the field staff, who would be our connection to the campaign, who we could contact for guidance, resources, or questions. We were then introduced to Paul Skully, who is a community organizer from the foundation Barack worked for between college and law school. Along with his fellow organizers, they broke us into three smaller groups and taught us how to organize, a valuable skill for our future lives in public service. They taught us about how power works, why it was important, and how to empower ourselves.
We were also taught many things about how politics work and how to organize in small groups. In my region, we organized into Long Island for Obama, a group representing the first four congressional districts of New York. We came up with concrete plans that the campaign can hold us accountable for, and pledged to do certain events and meet certain goals.
We were later broken into congressional districts, where we learned about delegate selection and distribution, and how to petition to get our candidate on the ballet (which isn't an issue in many states, but in NY and NJ it is). Some things you might not know: In New York only 15% of your district needs to vote for a candidate for them to be able to gain delegates. Hillary may win NY (I think we can win though), but she will absolutely not take all the delegates. I'll tell you this, she won't be taking Brooklyn, ask their 1000 member or so strong organization.
We also spoke to some local politicians who were supporters, in particular councilman Sanders. The councilman was passionate and really had a grip on the idea that we really could win (let me rephrase: we will win), that we could empower ourselves to make the difference, and that we need to set our hopes high and believe we can do what needs to be done to make America great. One thing he said stuck out to me, he said we as Americans have a fear of being happy. We think we need to take small steps and give up on the idea that America could be the place that we want it to be. But he pushed us to believe that we could be happy as a country, that we could hold up our ideals and say these things can be accomplished, these problems are not insurmountable. That was very powerful for me.
One memorable quote that was repeated and stuck out for me:
I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Comment to a group of labor leaders pushing for the NLRB. His point: Until they lead the way, they shouldn't expect leaders to follow
In that vein, we were taught that we were building an engine for social change, not just a political campaign. We will have made friends and found common interest with thousands and thousands of Americans who hope for something better. We will have learned how to create a viable organization of citizens for a common interest.
We will still be there when we win the primary, we will still be there when the general election is over and Barack is President, and he will still be talking with us. In return, we will be holding him accountable to do the things we need him to do as President, which is the point of the quote above. This organization is a way that Barack can make sure he never loses sight of the peoples work. And it's the way that he will win the Presidency.
Tags: 2008 elections, Accountability, Barack Obama, camp obama, campaign, Candidates, community organizing, delegates, democracy, Democrats, FDR, Labor, national convention, Presidency, Primaries, social change (all tags)