Hope

It’s been a long and difficult campaign for all the presidential hopefuls. It’s hard to believe that some of these candidates have really been campaigning for over a year at this point, especially when you consider that each party’s convention is still well over half a year away. With this seemingly never-ending presidential campaign, it can be easy to become fatigued. We here at Civic Alert go through the same thing from time to time. It seems like we’ve been reporting about false attacks, distorted truths and dirty politics for an eternity. It’s enough to make a person lose their interest in entire process. Another day, another controversy. Another week, another state votes. The drums keep beating and the campaign march never stops. As this fatigue sets it, it gets harder to care about it all.

Well this is the wake-up call. It’s time to get our heads back in the game. I can understand the fatigue, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it too, but it’s time to give our greatest efforts. Think of it like running a long distance race. The ending stretch is always when you are the most exhausted, but it’s also when you have to try the hardest. It’s the most crucial time of the race to use every once of energy you posses and hold nothing back. We may not be at the finish line yet, but next Tuesday is arguably the most crucial day of this campaign. This is when Obama needs us the most.

It isn’t too much to ask in return for what he has given us. I know that for me, he has given me hope. We live in an age of division, where we focus on that which separates us, rather than that which unites us. We are taught that those who hold differing opinions are wrong. If you’re a Republican, Democrats are the enemy. If you’re pro-choice, then those anti-abortionists are the enemy. Every subject has been cast as black or white, or if you will, red or blue. One side must be right, which means the other side must be wrong. This mentality is ripping apart our beautiful nation at the seams as we grow more divided with each passing day. The income gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase. Americans are losing jobs to outsourcing and losing their lives to a health care system that has failed them. There are over 12 million illegal immigrants who are supporting our economy with their labor but find themselves in a nebulous area of the law. American students are not getting the education they need.

All these divisive issues are tearing our country apart, and so our government has tried to keep our country unified through fear. Fear of an unseen terror that is assuredly lurking behind every corner or border. This tactic of using fear has worked time and time again to get good, freedom-loving Americans to put security before liberty. It has brought our country into an unnecessary disaster of a war that may eventually cost us as much as $2 trillion and thousands of American lives lost. The number of Iraqi casualties will probably never be fully known. It has allowed the government to listen to our phone calls, read our e-mails, and even suspend habeas corpus. Fear has made us the country that kidnaps and tortures innocent people, the country that holds alleged “enemy combatants” indefinitely without granting them their right to a fair trial. All these atrocities have been committed in the name of unity. Through fear, we remain united.

The craziest part about it is that it worked. I felt so hopeless during these times. There was nothing I could possibly do to stop our irrevocable path towards the obliteration of our democracy. I watched as my country was violated and destroyed one small piece at a time. The weight of the country’s problems was too great for me.

Then there was a man who said it didn’t have to be that way, a man who could stand tall with this full weight on his shoulders and still be convinced that there could once again be a better tomorrow. A man who said we could once again stand united, not in fear, but in hope. A man that appealed to the best in all of us, not the worst.

The word “change” has come under a lot of fire during this campaign for being used by all the candidates, but all these candidates don’t mean the same thing. Barack Obama’s biggest competitor, Hillary Clinton, adopted his slogan of “change” after she realized her slogan of “experience” wasn’t resonating with voters. Hillary Clinton’s change is change from the Bush dynasty back to the Clinton dynasty. From far-right partisanship to far-left partisanship. The actors and the policies change alright, but the game remains unchanged. This isn’t Barack Obama’s idea of change. Obama’s change is change from division to unity, from fear to hope. He realizes that regardless of how our beliefs and opinions differ from each other, working together and listening to each other is the only way we’re going to make lasting progress that will disappear when the actors change again.

This idea of coming together despite our differences is uniquely American. As a country, our history is steeped in intolerance and hatred, but despite all of our shortcomings, we’ve always found a way to unite in times of great division and move forward together towards a brighter future. It’s the only way this great experiment in democracy has survived as long as it has. We are at another crucial moment in our nation’s history where we will either overcome our differences to unite together and once again build ourselves a brighter future, or will we be destroyed by our current politics of fear and division.

There is only one man who understands this “fierce urgency of now,” who comprehends the crucial importance of coming together. Of all the presidential candidates there is only one uniter. There is only one man with the ideals, optimism, charisma, understanding and wisdom to rise to this challenge.

His name is Barack Obama, and he has taught me how to hope once again.

It is for this reason that I believe in Barack Obama and feel it is time we do everything in our power to aid him. No amount of effort can ever repay him for what he has given me, but together, we can make a start. With Super Tuesday only one week away, we must all rise to the occasion and spread the hope he has given us. We must help unify our country.

While I know it can seem like an impossibly overwhelming task, here are some simple ways we can help guarantee the future of our nation:

  • Vote. On February 5th, I will be in Obama’s home state of Illinois. Because Minnesota has decided not to accept absentee ballots, I will be voting in the Illinois primary. Obama will win here. This state loves him. But even when Obama will most likely win a state, it is still important to vote! The wider the margin of victory, the more delegates he’ll receive, so every vote does count, even if it is just increasing Obama’s margin of victory from 15% to 16%. This race will come down to the wire, and every delegate will count. You must vote.
  • Get friends to vote! Everything is more fun when you do it with friends. Go to your primary or caucus together. You’ll have a much better evening and you’ll be helping the cause. If your friends or family aren’t sure about which candidate to vote for, maybe you should have them read this?
  • Buy merch. I’m not being paid by the Obama campaign, but I’ll still recommend you head to his official site and check out his store. Obama shirts aren’t just stylish, they’re a great way to support him. Campaign contributions are an important part in enabling Obama to effectively campaign. You need money to run for office. Every dollar you contribute will help buy posters, pins and lawn signs for the Obama campaign. All the money spent on Obama merch is directly contributed to the campaign. So if you’re going to give, at least get some great merch to represent your Obama love in return. The buttons are awesome, and I look so good in an Obama shirt.
  • Spread the word! You don’t have to knock on doors and hand out fliers to spread the news. The more you talk about Obama, the more powerful the brand association will become. Never underestimate the power of brand. Hillary’s biggest asset is her last name. Do you think she would be this popular if she wasn’t a Clinton? It’s a name that everybody knows and identifies with. You must also make Obama a household word. Here are some suggestions on how to do this.
  • Facebook. Most of them have them, so let’s represent. I want everyone to change their profile pictures to something Obama related. A lot of my friends have already started, and it is contagious. Even kids who don’t care about politics will notice when their friends list is dominated with pictures of Obama support. I have a picture of myself wearing all of my Obama gear on my page, but my roommate has a picture of Barack himself. Anything works, as long as it’s Obama related. Also, it’s exactly seven days until Super Tuesday, so let’s change those statuses to something Obama related! Don’t underestimate the ability this will have to generate attention in Obama. If we all do this together, it’ll be huge.
  • Wear your Obama merch! I know I just told you to buy some, so once you do, put those pins on your bags and jackets. The more Obama’s name is out in public, the more it will help.
  • Talk to friends and family about politics. If they like Obama, take them to vote with you. If they don’t, try to persuade them otherwise. I’m not advocating that you force your opinions on them, but I feel that if you engage in intelligent discourse, they’ll come around. If that fails, link them to your favorite current affairs blog (that’s us!).
  • Send pictures to Civic Alert. We will post every picture of a reader supporting Obama in some fashion on this blog.

These are not the only means through which you can promote Obama. Rather, these are just a few easy suggestions to get you started. If anyone has other great methods that I missed, leave them in the comments. However, we don’t have much time to start doing these things. Obama needs us seven days from today. We must act now. No man changes the world alone. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington would have been meaningless without the thousands of people who marched with him. By appealing to the best in each of us, one man can inspire a nation to rise and become more than simply the sum of our parts. Behind every great leader are the people he leads, and without them, he is nothing. Barack Obama is that leader of hope and unity that our country so desperately needs right now.

Are you going to follow?

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One Response

  1. So well said. Amazing.

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