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Why He Won - Livin' the Good Life

Nov. 15th, 2008

05:57 am - Why He Won

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I read a long article in the most recent edition of the New Yorker magazine about how Obama won the election. It was truly facinating. Beside the fact that he has a super-star-like quality about him, and that he is smart, articulate, calm, consistant, humorous, compassionate, and promised to try and change the Bush policies that so many people were frustrated with, he ran a BRILLIANT campaign.
The article told how he headed an enormous, well-oiled, money-making machine. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of his methods, because, not being registered as a Republican, I was contacted almost daily by email. I was given news and updates on Obama's rallies and speeches, but most of all, I was asked for money. They asked me for 5, 10 or 25 dollars, or whatever I could afford, in order to help counter whatever current attack Hillary, and later McCain, was dishing out about Obama. Every smear was laid out for me to decide if I wanted to help correct it. And I donated a number of times. Now, I am one who never donates to anything (except children... I can't resist children). And here I happily donated to Obama's campaign. They made it extremely easy to do so, relying on the effectiveness of something akin to impulse buying with a credit card. "Here is the latest smear. Here is the truth. Can you donate today to help correct this lie?" And the money came pouring in, because people like me, all over the country, wanted to help. The article said that by October they had raised more money than they knew what to do with, mostly from small donners like me. Obama vowed not to be "bought by big money and lobbyists". Instead, he relied on "We the People" to support him. It worked big time! When he won on election day, millions of people like me, who felt personally involved and invested, felt a keen victory. We felt it as a stunning personal success. I was not the only one smiling for days afterward.
The article also told about what Obama called his "super-volunteers". Evidently, about 15,000 people left their jobs, or left school, to volunteer a year of their lives to work on Obama's behalf. The 15,000 volunteers had phone-calling "parties" (or went house-to-house, knocking on doors) all over the country, making sure people were registered to vote and encouraging them to vote for Obama. (At universities, they not only successfully rallied young people, but they encouraged them to "tell your mama, vote Obama". And evidently they did.) (Come to think of it, it was our son, Ely, who initially brought my attention to Obama over a year ago, giving him the big thumbs up. "You need to vote for him, Mom.") I was invited many times to get involved in these events. I never did, because I can't even sell Girl Scout cookies, but I always appreciated and supported their efforts. (I did wear my Obama t-shirt and display my Obama bumper sticker, though.) I imagined people all over our great country regularly giving of their time and effort to call and get people involved and on-board. I was impressed and moved. And I continue to be impressed, because the emails have not stopped. Obama wants people to get involved in their government. He wants "feedback from the people". He wants us to know we are being heard. And he wants us to help create, support, and then sustain, the changes that he promised to make. The article said that, since the election, an unprecedented number of people are coming forth saying they want to get involved in government. This is following a long, dark period of general apathy and dismay. Now the big looming question is: Can Obama make good on his promises? They say presidents rarely do. But, we will see. If Obama's campaign is any indication of his ability to get things done and to follow-through, his supporters shouldn't be disappointed.