The Day We Changed the World

(Sorry, 2 non-book-related posts in a row.  I promise the next one will be about books)

Ben and I just spent the last 2 hours watching By The People in honor of the historic anniversary that is November 4.  For those of you who are new to my blog, I was a Field Organizer for the Obama Campaign during the general election.  For 3 months, I lived and breathed Barack Obama.  I went home only to get a few hours of sleep and I think I saw my husband less than I did when we lived in different parts of the country.  But watching this documentary reminded me why I did it and why I would do it over if I had the chance (possibly with some Xanax nearby).  In honor of the anniversary, I’m reposting my thoughts from after the election last year.  I wrote this on November 9. 2008 and the original post can be found here.

So…we won!  Barack Obama is our next president.  And we won Florida and Pinellas County – both of which went for George Bush four years ago.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  All I want to do is stare at the little blue Florida and the little blue Pinellas county all day.

I am extremely glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so important.  The last 3 months definitely had its ups and downs.  Some times, I was curled up on the office floor crying out of exhaustion and anxiety.  Other times, I was having the time of my life.  I met so many amazing people – co-workers, volunteers, community members.  I am going to remember this forever.  It could possibly be the biggest thing that I am ever a part of.

Here is what Joe Klein had to say in Time magazine about us:

Indeed, there are — an army of them, untold thousands of young organizers operating out of more than 700 offices nationwide. And they have delivered a message to Rudy Giuliani, who sneered during the Republican National Convention that he didn’t even know “what a community organizer is.” This is who they are: they are the people who won this election. They were the heart and soul and backbone of Barack Obama’s victory. They are destined to emerge as the next significant generation of American political operatives — similar to the antiwar and antisegregation baby boomers who dominated the Democratic Party after cutting their teeth on the Bobby Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy campaigns of 1968, similar to the pro-life, antitax Reaganauts who dominated the Republican Party and American politics from the election of 1980 … until now. They are a preview of the style and substance of the Obama Administration.

I am glad to get back to my life.  Back to friends, family, reading, ballet, and everything else.  But I am also terrified because I have no idea what comes next.  I have to choose which direction to take my life now.  For now, I’m trying to remember how to relax and enjoy our success.  I’m going on a trip up north in a few days with some of my fellow organizers and seeing my dad in Boston and my family in Michigan.  So I guess I can put off some of these decision for a few weeks.

When I start getting nervous, I just try to remember everything that I have done so far and how much we actually accomplished here. We elected the president.  Kind of a big deal.

I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you.  I missed you all the last 3 months.

Back to realtime Michelle.

That chapter of my life is over.  I am still involved in the campaign world to a lesser degree, but I have moved on with my life.  I will never forget those 3 months, the people I met, the friendships I made, the lessons I learned.  I am so thankful that I got to be a part of Obama’s story and I can’t wait to see what he does the next 3 (7?) years.

Is it 2012 yet?

5 thoughts on “The Day We Changed the World

  1. Kelly November 4, 2009 / 10:14 pm

    That’s so fantastic. 🙂 I remember casting my vote after waiting in line for about half an hour and walking back to my car with a huge, huge smile on my face. And I remember hearing that he won (I was at work) and calling my best friend and just bursting into tears, because I couldn’t believe that we made the right choice (“we” as a country, not “we” as in Jen and me; I knew the Jen-and-me we had).

    A full year later, I know it was the right choice. 🙂


    • Michelle November 7, 2009 / 9:52 am

      I love listening to everyone’s stories from that day. It was actually pretty uneventful for me since my volunteers were running everything and I was just acting as a boiler room (and I had early voted). But the end of the night was just amazing.


  2. Vishy November 8, 2009 / 7:48 am

    Amazing to know that you were an organizer in the Obama campaign! Belated Congratulations 🙂 It definitely must have been wonderful, when the results came out!


  3. erik. November 12, 2009 / 10:48 pm

    Maybe I should watch it. Lately all I’ve been thinking about is how I’ve been unemployed since and feeling sorry for myself. It would be nice to be reminded of all that I did and the people who did it with me.


    • Michelle November 13, 2009 / 1:12 pm

      You should definitely watch it. It brought back all the feelings I had during the campaign (including the anxiety) and it was a great reminder of what we did and why we did it.

      And you will get a job. Everything works out in the end. And remember that those people with the nice big law jobs that they had set up long before graduation aren’t doing that great these days either. 🙂


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