Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunrise in Cincinnati

My friend Michael has been volunteering for the Obama campaign in Ohio for the last couple of weeks. He's been sending back some wonderful stories of the way this election is transforming our nation. This one, sent two days ago, made me cry:

Sunrise over Cincinnati.

The last Democratic Presidential nominee to win this county was Lyndon Johnson. Yesterday morning voters began lining up at the board of elections at 7 am. By 8:30 the line stretched 4 blocks. I saw this myself. If you arrived at 9 am, you voted nearly 4 hours later. Our election monitors told me that people waited calmly and quietly. And voted. And, by all accounts, the vast majority were our people.

Many celebrated as they left the Board's downtown office. Some wept.

Yesterday a 60 member volunteer Cincinnati gotv team, many who have never participated in an election, led by a fresh-faced 23 year old organizer, hit several thousand doors. This is a team of old and young, black and white, people of every level of educational and socioeconomic background. Similar teams hit doors all over this county. Today, many of those same volunteers, joined by thousands more, will again hit the streets. As they will tomorrow. And Tuesday.

I haven't had the time over the last few weeks to think about the big picture. Of what this election means to us. What it means for my 5 year old niece. But this morning I did. As I watched the sun rise, I thought of her and a promise of a better America. I thought of the young volunteers (many only 17-23) who work 12 hour days on this campaign. I thought about residents of a city that has seen more than its share of racial strife. I imagined grandmas and grandpas who remember times in this country that were difficult, and how they wish for a tolerant and kind America - where their grandkids have access to a decent education, good healthcare, safe streets, a rewarding job.......a future. And I thought about the politics of cynicism and fear. And where that has brought us. And how it has divided us. And the possibility, the chance, however slim, of unity.

Sunrise indeed.
Thank you, Michael, for putting your all into this effort, and for bringing home the hope.

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