Friday, May 09, 2008

Civics lesson

"Don’t ever forget that we have a choice in this country – that we can choose not to be divided; that we can choose not to be afraid; that we can still choose this moment to finally come together and solve the problems we’ve talked about all those other years in all those other elections." (Barack Obama's victory speech in North Carolina, May 6, 2008)

This is a horrible photo, but it's the only one we've got. My sister, Amy, her daugher, Clare, and I were so busy GOTV-ing (Getting Out the Vote) that we forgot to take photos, and this one at the end of the day in the garage was overexposed. The three of us got up early on Tuesday and drove to Hammond, Indiana, where we got our assignment to knock on doors in nearby East Chicago.

My sister took her daughter out of school, thinking it would be a good civics lesson (and it was) but it also was a great lesson on poverty in America, as we were sent to the projects right next to the steel mills. At one point, Amy was a little afraid to be doing her side of the street alone, so I went with her. (My experience as a city dweller and as a reporter makes me much less hesitant to just walk in and talk to people, even in the 'hood.) I have to say, everyone was completely nice and very supportive of the Obama campaign, including the two convicted felons who seemed pretty educated on the issues and tried to offer us a $2 donation, since they can't vote.

The crafty connection would be our matching T-shirts, which you can't really see. We did the iron-on thing with a photo of Obama and the words "Vote Today" on the front, then added, "Yes, Indiana can!" on the back with Bubble paint. We got lots of positive comments on them!

I want to thank all the people I know in Indiana who voted for Obama. In the end, it wasn't about winning the state, it was about winning delegates, and about it being so close that it changed the "narrative." Nearly everyone agrees now that he is our candidate. It was great to be part of that history. And to those who have supported Hillary, whom I greatly respect (though I have been frustrated with her tactics in this campaign), I say please join us and welcome aboard. We have a lot of work to do to help fix our country after 8 years of George Bush.

According to the Indiana Secretary of State, the official totals were:

Hillary Clinton: 643,797 50.5%

Barack Obama: 629,310 49.4%

The difference: 14,487 1.1 %

And to make up for that awful photo, here's a nice one of the three Aurora University employees in our family--Amy, librarian; Andrew, provost; and me, associate professor--in our regalia on graduation day. It was a picture-perfect day and a beautiful ceremony and ritual. Four students from my class graduated, which was really touching to see. It's been surprising to me how much I really love teaching. Whodathunk?

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