The past 21 months have been a roller coaster of emotions-and most of the time I would succumb to their effects and measure my day and life on which one was consuming me at the time.
The highs of Iowa, the Democratic nomination, the convention and the current polls favoring Obama. The lows including Rev. Wright, the primary wars, the “seemingly” brilliant Palin choice and polls that show our candidate was losing.
Far fewer times I actually thought about how this election has changed me personally-tonight is one of those unique times.
You see no matter who wins this election I have grown as an individual and I have many people to thank for this.
The elderly man in my neighborhood who has shared many stories with me about the civil rights era and how he believed, at the time, that African Americans were “dangerous” to America. He is now voting for the first time in 24 years and will cast his vote for Obama.
The 14 year old girl who I met in New Castle, PA who has her own paper route and has donated $58 to the Obama campaign because Obama “makes her parents happy.”
The 40 something General Electric worker from Grove City, PA who quietly confided in me his intentions in voting for Obama even though all of his “Harley riding friends would be disappointed.” His reasoning? “Because Obama offers hope and unity for this country instead of dividing us.”
My oldest son, who now comes home from school and instead of wanting to turn on Nickelodeon he wants to know if Obama is having a rally tonight, a debate or how the polls were. He’s 10 and has probably done more voter outreach than any 4th grader in Pennsylvania.
The wide rainbow of individuals I have personally met at numerous Democratic locations. I have canvassed, phone-banked and put in long hours with these people. The understanding that “power will not give up easily” and I am proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with them.
To all of you I have met on the blogosphere (especially my fellow Moose start-up crew) who I shared my thoughts, experiences and feelings with. The coalition we built between Clinton and Obama supporters and to see it come to fruition with the launching of Motley Moose will be something I will never forget. We were always there for each other sharing a common purpose, to make life better for the less fortunate and the next generation.
All of these people, and many more not mentioned, have fulfilled me in ways that no amount of money or power could possibly achieve. You see these are “real life” experiences, with real emotion and real connection. These have shaped me for the rest of my life and can never be taken away.
You see Barack has been right all along. This election isn’t about him, it’s about you and me. It’s about opening our eyes and hearts and seeing the best in all people. It’s about promoting unity with our neighbors – in our city, in our state, in our country and in our world. It’s about coming together and facing our challenges head-on, as only Americans can do. It’s about being a better parent, sibling, friend and person. It’s about humility and leading by example.
“I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.”
Of course I will be devastated should Obama lose, but I will have gained invaluable friendships, a different outlook on life, and a sense of making a difference in people’s lives.
So, no matter if he wins or loses, I want to thank Barack Obama for making me take a look deep inside myself and making me a better person.