May 9, 2008

Journey Indiana

I decided to go to Indiana because I knew that Obama would need as much help as he could get there. I traveled with two ladies that I met while campaigning in Philadelphia. I originally planned to fly but decided to drive because I thought it would be a more enriching experience. I was right.

Saturday afternoon we loaded up our PT Cruiser and headed to the mid-west. I have never been to the mid-west. After four hours of driving I thought only Pennsylvania was to the west, it took hours to get through Pennsylvania, but we dashed through West Virginia, then Ohio, finally reaching Indiana around four o’clock in the morning. The entire drive we stayed up, discussing politics, society, culture, government, our next president, and the movement we are building. All three of us were unlikely volunteers, and none of us ever worked on a political campaign before. Two ladies over fifty and me, a single mom, we hailed from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. We dubbed ourselves The Tri-State for Obama.

The sun began to rise as I sped through Indiana anxious to reach our destination to get some sleep. I got pulled over by the police. He told me I was going ninety, I said I thought I was going eighty; the speed limit was sixty-five. One of the ladies shouted “we are here for Obama”. He said “license and registration, please”. When he returned after checking my credentials, he let me go with a warning, THANK YOU OFFICER. I asked how far to Indianapolis, he responded ten minutes but if I go ninety I will get there quicker. I promised I would be off the road in ten minutes, thanked him and continued my journey. We arrived in Indianapolis Sunday morning about nine am, around fifteen hours after we departed. Thank you to the receptionist at the University Place Hotel for allowing us an early check in. After the long night of driving, some breakfast and hotel check, surprisingly we had so much energy and excitement about being in Indianapolis to work for Obama, we decided to go to the headquarters and check in. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers at the headquarters on Fulton who welcomed us with open arms and made us feel at home.

On day one Sunday we went to a rally outside the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Hillary supporters were across from us trying their best but we brought it. There was a high school band, an African band and plenty of supporters wearing their Hoosier for Obama jerseys, yelling “Barack the vote”, “be a part of something great, vote Barack in 08”. We chanted and danced for hours never giving in to the Hillary camp, later we went to volunteer headquarters on Meridian to help with office work preparing for the next day of visiting voters, delivering door hangers with polling information. There were volunteers from all over; Chicago, Pennsylvania, California. Max Kennedy (Robert Kennedy’s son) came by and gave a thrilling speech; this was a treat because I was out canvassing when he visited the office in Philadelphia.

On monday morning we worked out of the Shelby office, we went canvassing through the Franklin District. I got to see part of the rural areas, Indiana is a beautiful place. I spoke directly with voters; I couldn’t help smiling gleefully when I ran into Obama supporters. It was great fun. We were honored to be able to be a volunteer at an Obama event. We spent the afternoon and evening at American Legion Mall, a huge park in the center of Indianapolis, a beautiful setting. People were already arriving when we got there around three thirty for the volunteer meeting. As part of the volunteer group I was able to work with the crowd focusing on special needs. The line stretched for blocks and blocks, over ten thousand, I’m sure. People were camping out taking a seat on the sidewalk prepared for the long wait. It was unbelievable, people stood in line for hours. The only thing I can compare it to was the opening of “Return of the Jedi” I remember the lines and I stood in line for hours. The gates to Obama’s event opened around six pm. People hung out for hours even during the rain no one left. Stevie Wonder played, the press hovered, the people chanted, Andre Carson a local politician pump the crowd with a rousing speech. Finally our next President took the stage, the crowd went crazy. Obama was great, many of his remarks hit home, we cheered when he talked about not playing the same political games, and the gas tax gimmick promoted by the opposition. It was a great successful event.

On our way home we stopped by Country Kitchen, a local eatery Obama visited and became endeared with the owners and workers. Another group of hardworking Americans, just trying to do something positive and make ends meet. Obama supporters. During the drive home we met numerous Obama supporters when we took pit stops. We met a couple who supported Obama, one expressing the frustration at the media questioning Obama's ability to get white rural voters. “Me and my husband are white, rural, working class and we support Obama. We campaigned for Obama in Ohio”—her words. This narrative that The Clintons and the media put out was not borne out as we drove across rural America. We met several Hillary supporters who assured they would vote Obama in November, one talking about her concerns over Medicare part B, even stating “I would die if a Republican got in, because all we are going to be talking about is abortion, guns, and war”. “I’m too old for a kid, and if McCain gets elected we’re all going to need guns” she went on. I added “yeah, to kill ourselves” we both chuckled and hugged. A Hillary supporter.
I tried not to debate with Hillary supporters even though my companions loved to. I just found it counter productive. I encourage people to read about and listen to Obama. My only question was if they will vote Obama in November. Once they said yes, I didn’t feel the need to go further. The media doesn’t seem to understand that even with one hundred percent name recognition Hillary Clinton could not secure the nomination. Barack has eaten away at her voters because she was the presumptive nominee so all the votes were hers to lose, and she lost many.

I was very pleased with the results on election night and am more confident that America is on the path to change, and Obama is on the way to the White House. I look forward to the general election because I know it will be a tough battle. I have linked up with a local group and will be attending the voter registration drive on Saturday. YES WE CAN!

Super delegates are now coming forward in support of Obama and I see the end in sight there is only three weeks and six contests left in the primary race. Still outstanding is Michigan and Florida. Hopefully all will be resolved soon.

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