Last week I wrote The Time for Change is Now: A Call to Action Part 1 and promised that I would follow up with Part 2 with stories of my family and friends who have inspired me with their volunteer efforts to help Barack Obama win this election.
We have just one week until election day. One week to rise to the challenge. One week to get involved and make a difference.
Earlier this month my friend Alison from GreenMe wrote Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You. I have to credit her with helping me reevaluate my priorities and giving me the proverbial kick in the pants I needed to go volunteer myself. She wrote:
Okay, so you would like to volunteer, but you donâ€™t have the time? I am sure that you â€” like myself â€” procrastinate on a daily basis. You put off the laundry or the vacuuming or dropping off the recycling â€” so that you can do something else. Right now there is nothing more important in your future and the future of your children and grandchildren â€” nieces and nephews than getting out the vote and talking to your neighbors. No single thing is more influential in your future than the future of your country. The last 8 years of President Bush have been a near disaster. The election is less than 4 weeks away â€” and YOU donâ€™t have time to volunteer? Not even 2 hours? What about 4 hours?
Think about the amount of difference that you could make in 4 hours? Supposedly, every 14th person that you contact is likely to actually â€œhearâ€ your words and have a change of heart and mind. Consider this: if 100 people read this blog today and, 100 people then go out and each to talk to 50 people tomorrow â€” statistically that would result in 357 additional people voting for your candidate. In swing states, such as Colorado, 357 people just might make the difference in who is the next President of the United States of America.
Alison, who is a third generation Coloradoan and mother to a 15 month old son, has spent several hours volunteering herself at the local Democrats office, making phone calls and canvassing. When asked why she chose to get involved, Alison said: “Life on earth is interconnected. What happens today, what happens here, affects not only you and me, but future generations and people around the world. Obama understands the interconnectedness of life and he genuinely wishes that United States of American lives up to its own motto as a ‘Government of the People, for the People, and my the People.’ With that it mind? How could I not get involved in this election?”
Another “Obama Mama” (which is on a pin I’ve been wearing for the past week) who inspired me to get involved is my good friend Brandy Lance, who’s currently living in Georgia with her husband and two young boys. Although she hasn’t been able to volunteer as much as she’d like, she still found ways to get herself and her children involved in this election.
We decided we wanted to thank those who can donate more time. My boys and I began baking goodies for our local Obama office volunteers. We’ve made them cookies, muffins, and pretzels and even though a volunteer that lives just down the road from us has volunteered to take them to the office, I have driven the boys down each time. I at least want to show them how the volunteers are dedicating their time, what the office looks like and how appreciative the people are when they receive their gift of thanks. It’s a small way to get children involved in the political process while helping to create a better sense of community and appreciation.
Brandy has also done some data entry work for her local Democrat office.
This is the first election Brandy has gotten involved in and says the reason is, “I believe that America needs major change now and needs to have some better policies in place for the sake of my children’s future. If I don’t help elect a candidate whom I believe can, and will, help our country, then it seems to me that I really don’t care all that much.”
Another mom who felt the need to get involved in an election for the first time is Erika Carlson, mom of two of Louisville, Colo., who organized the Louisville Mamas for Obama, which is comprised of a few dozen women. They held a bake sale which raised $650 for the Obama campaign and also got hundreds of bumper stickers, buttons and yard signs out to Louisville supporters, as well as managed informational tables at the Farmers Market. She’s now working on getting the Louisville Mamas for Obama to volunteer for the Get Out The Vote efforts these last few days before the election.
When asked why she choose to get involved she said, “I felt last election that Bush could not possibly win, and he did. I want to make sure that our feelings of ‘being ahead’ in the polls doesnâ€™t lead to complacency.”
A couple other women I’ve been inspired by as of late are my sister and my mom. Both have been doing work for the Democratic party in this election. My mom, a retired school teacher in northeast Michigan, has been volunteering a LOT – canvassing, making phone calls, and working in her local Obama office, and I’ve been really proud of her for it. She plans to work the last four days before the election, doing whatever they need her to do.
Although this isn’t her first election to be involved in, the last time was many years ago when Bobby Kennedy was running for president. She decided to get involved again this year because, “Enough is enough. I cannot just sit by and let another Republican get elected. I declared myself a Democrat and started to volunteer. We have to have a president that really and sincerely cares about our country’s future and the future of my children and grandchildren, and we have to improve our image globally.”
So there you have it, four stories from four different women, all motivated to get involved to help shape the future of our country, and all of whom helped inspire me to get involved.
We have just seven days left before history will be made. Can you get involved? Do you have an hour or two to spare? Can you make some phone calls to remind people to vote and tell them their polling place? Can you drive people without transportation to the polls? Can you make a donation? Can you bring some food to volunteers on election day? Every little bit helps.
Here’s one more (specific) way to get involved. Cynthia Samuels recently posted about a group called Election Protection that will work to protect people from voter suppression on election day. She urges, “If you are an attorney or law student or paralegal, please sign up to help.” My little sis, who is an attorney, will be involved in those efforts.
Lastly, today Barack Obama gave a very inspiration speech in Canton, Ohio. You can watch the last six or so minutes of it here. A few things he said that especially stood out to me were:
“We have to work this week like our future depends on it in this last week…because it does.”
“We can choose hope over fear and unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo.”
“It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, but you and I know it is time to come together and change this country.”
We only have one week left. Let’s come together. Let’s get involved. Let’s change this country!