Wednesday, 12 November 2008

the election that changed the world!

obama motivated more volunteers than any politician in the history of our country. i believe it paid off. and i think his victory restored hope and faith in the democratic process. i know it did for me, and it seems like the world is also rejoicing.

here are some photos from the weeks before the election and the election itself...

the second week of october, the polls began to tighten and i FLIPPED OUT! i decided that i had to do everything i could to get obama elected. so i held calling parties at my house. twice a week until the election. invitees needed to bring a laptop and a cell phone. i was too busy making calls to take photos (apparently). but it was a fun time. i am not sure how many calls were made from my house, but we had anywhere from 3 to 8 people here each night. and we worked for about 3-4 hours.

it was really fun! i had some really weird calls. some people were rude mccain supporters. there was an obama supporter who told me she was only "voting for the white half of him" !?? there was a old lady who talked to me for about 20 minutes about the color of her mucus and the horrible cold she had.

then there was the guy in NM who wasn't sure who to vote for. we talked for a bit and he decided that he should vote for obama. i was SUPER pleased, as you can imagine. then i asked him if he had decided who he was going to vote for in the senate race. he indicated that he didn't know who was running so i told him about udall and asked him to consider voting for him. he said something like "since i don't really care about that stuff, and you seem to really care, i will vote for udall." i was kinda surprised. i mean, i want to help people decide, but i don't want to make the decision for them. anyway, i told him about early voting and he voted the next day.

then there were all the people who would call me back. that was kinda weird, because i would just be at work or something and a strange number would come up. people were calling, often, because they actually did want to talk about the election. it was kinda weird.

it was also awesome. there are so many voices and conversations from those calls that floated around my head the night of the election. so many people excited to vote. people who had voted republican their whole lives, voting for obama and with totally articulate reasons. super interesting conversations about the future of our country and what we hope it can become. the camaraderie of hope that built as the election approached. i invited many people to volunteer in their own neighborhoods, and people said they would.

making these calls made me feel really proud to be american. it felt really neat to connect to all these people all over the country around this common hope. sure there were people who were nervous. many people expressed fear for obama's life should be elected. hopefully the "believers for obama" group is praying for his safety still!

robin and betsy

cheryl in my room because it was too loud downstairs.

i am seriously bummed i didn't take more photos!

then there was the canvassing. i think i went every weekend in october, except the weekend aimee was here (she said she was doing her part to get mccain elected).
we went to real america, fake america, and some places in between . . . mostly it was real virginia and fake virginia i guess...

this is from early october...our trip to leesburg. the campaign decided that louden county was going to be one of the places in the country that could actually decide the fate of the election. the cayahouga county of 2008. so we went in force.

how do you say no to that??

we were definitely fired up!
and the weather was so gorgeous it was crazy.

simone doing her part.
this was hard for her. she loves obama, but i think she was bugged he was getting more attention than she was
tho she did help sway some voters
by running into their houses!

this is liz walking from one of the houses.
we walked alot this day! it was super interesting tho. this felt like mccain territory,
but it wasn't. :)

what is awesome about these photos is that you can see bethany's pregnancy progress!
also, i need a hair cut in the WORST way here!!!! please make me cut my hair if you see me looking like this!!!
cheryl was with us on this trip but she went with someone else, i am sad i don't have photos of her.

i forgot my camera on a number of outings.
we ended up in fairfax, falls church, arlington and colonial beach va.
betsy, holly, bethany, cheryl, robin, and i all traveled at times to these places.
i don't have any real photos of our fake america door knocking.
we went to some apartment complexes and housing projects.
i am pretty sure it is fake america if you are able to knock on a neighbor's door by going across a hallway...

this is colonial beach, which i am pretty sure is real america.
robin and i were trying to parse out real america.
here are tell-tale signs you are in it

you don't see mailboxes like that in fake america!

or like this

also, in real america people don't have door bells.

AND people invite you in to sit down and chat

and some people don't register to vote because they are afraid they will get jury duty (real story)

and some older couples don't want to vote at all. mostly because they didn't like either candidate
i was told twice that the couple had always voted democratic but they just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a republican. and they just didn't like obama. they weren't sure why. but they made sure to tell us at least a couple of times that it wasn't because they were racist.
i am pretty sure it was because they were racist.

but man, the kids in real america REALLY like obama!
they thought our door-hangy things were swag. and mobbed us to get some.

real america is beautiful tho!

then back to fake america . . .

dc is in love with obama!
he is everywhere
and no longer chained in!!!

election day finally came. i took the monday and tuesday off so that i could canvass and call.
i am still not really sure what is the most effective, but i felt like calling was really good to do. i did more calling than canvassing. plus you can do it at night after work.

anyway, election day i woke up super early. i was going to go vote, but bethany was leaving early to "get out the vote" in virginia. i decided that was more important than voting in the morning. so i hopped on my bike at about 8:am...

i couldn't get the size of this line because i don't have a wide enough lens. this line was at least 150 people long. i have never seen anything like it in dc. (where 94% of the vote went for obama)
i passed a few polling stations on my way to bethany's they all looked like this
bethany said she waited for about 2 hours to vote.
everyone i talked to who waited said it was the best time they ever had waiting in a line.

on our way out the door
getting fired up!

here we are getting instructed on how to get people out to vote.
there were phone numbers for people who needed a ride and info on polling places.

leaving for the morning with hope and anxiety (and of course a tea bottle)!

we got really hot.
this was an apartment complex FULL of immigrants from around the world.
we ran into somalli, indian, pakistani, nigerian, central american, and a bunch of other places i can't remember. some people couldn't vote. but many could and were very excited to cast their ballet for obama.
some people spoke only spanish, so i would try and communicate in my kindergarten spanish.
i think it worked. and they were all very excited.
there was lots of terrorist fist bumping and love for obama!

the colors on the trees were super duper amazing and beautiful
we hoped that it was just a sign of what was going to come!

here are some photos from scott, who joined us half way through the door knocking...

White-picket bliss.

we both decided, that if we were going to live in fake america, this is the place to live

this is the guy who gets to live there

he already had cast his ballot for obama

and thought he would never live for such a day!

chewing the fat about the destruction of new orleans with the a LSU grad at his house

this is the guy who hosted all our work for the day (and gave me cheez-its!)

we decided that nawlins has got to be rebuilt. and we just prayed obama would win to fix it.

somehow my bottle ended up in almost every photo

but this is the paraphanalia table.

scott, the consummate photographer

we left fake virgina so that i could vote and go to an appointment

here is my polling station. mckinnely high school
it was pretty amazing. i didn't have much of a line, and i was the only white person i saw in the place. there was something so great about seeing the little kids there with their parents and thinking, these kiddos are going to grow up thinking it is normal to have a black president. i just don't think it can be overestimated the power that is going to have on the next generation!

i have never cried drawing a line, until i drew this line. and man, i colored it in hard!

i was going to go give people rides, but by the time i was done voting i had 3 emails about how the campaign really needed people to make phone calls.
so i called for about 2 more hours and then just couldn't stand it anymore.
i called sarah and asked her if i could run an errand.
she asked for 5 broccolis. for some reason i grabbed 5 bundles of broccoli.
$15 on broccoli. it wasn't until i got to her house that i realized that i was in a daze.
i also ate a hamburger, got a free donut for voting, a free drink a starbucks for voting, and later cashed in my "I VOTED" sticker for ice-cream too...

me an eli waiting to go to ice cream
he looks pained, but that is he new smile for the camera face.

he is telling us that obama is number one
i am not kidding!

the last of the election day swag!

a group of friends congregated at sarah and tomicah's. they insisted on not hosting a party, but i think it was kinda forced upon them.
what else are we supposed to do?

watching returns

this guy was loosing his mind in anticipation.
he just started spinning in circles.
it was proabably all the ice cream, cookies, and stuff...
i felt like doing the same thing, but mine was all nerves!

wigging out about virigina.
why is this so close????

and then at 11 it was called. the whole room errupted. i still can't even think about it without crying. i am so glad i had the presence of mind to take some photos.
i seriously had no idea it would feel so good!
the whole thing was amazing. everyone in the room was teary
i of course was crying.
me and charity!


happy volunteers!!!

after the nervousness i had about this girl working for HRC,
it was wonderful to share this night and our obama paraphanalia!

a rush of patriotism lead tomicah to hoist the flag!
i have never been more proud to be an american!!!!


we kinda didn't know what to do with ourselves. we originally were going to watch the returns at bar on U Street, but got sucked in at tomicah and sarah's and couldn't leave, so we were going to head down to U Street for the after celebration
but on the way there we noticed a true exodus heading to the white house.
seriously, it felt like all the traffic was heading in one direction.
we decided we should follow the crowd.
horns we honking like crazy
people were shouting OBAMA OBAMA
it was like V-day
no one could stay inside
we all had to be with each other
and i guess the place to be was the white house.

we were not alone
we asked:
who's house is this?
its our house
who's house is this?

we sang:
nah nah nah nah
nah nah nah nah
hey hey hey
we reviled in our victory

i kept getting emails and facebook messages from friends around the world:

france to costa rica to south africa writing me like crazy saying:
"the whole world rejoices"
"Now AMERICA will come back to its natural brightness!"
a french man telling me he wishes he was american tonight... a FRENCH MAN!
they all said they cried.

i couldn't stop crying!

just looking at this makes me cry.
i think it just felt like that house had been stolen from us and turned into something to hate
looking at it this night made me feel like
all that i love about america might actually be possible again!
clearly, i wasn't alone

some people choose only wear their tighty-whities...
i didn't get a photo of that, but i remember thinking:
i voted for change, but not for naked!

this didn't turn out the way i thought it would, but i really love this photo!

the lady in that robe looked really familiar to me. we shouted obama next to each other for a bit and then sang and then i said something like
you have a familiar face
she said i did too
she said her name was joan
which seemed totally right to me, but i just couldn't place it
"do you work at HHS?"
"huh, i am kimberly"
"well good to see you here kimberly"
"yeah congrats joan"

turns out it was joan baez!

at about 2:30 am, we decided we should go get breakfast
i had my bike and "pumped" cheryl over about 7 blocks through the city.
everyone still honking and yelling obama with flags hanging out of the car
cheryl and i were cracking up about riding double on my bianci!

we met up at the diner in adam's morgan
this is the scene outside

mind you this is dc, at about 3:am, ON A SCHOOL NIGHT!

i started loosing my mind with tired and never took photos once we got inside.
it was hysterical, because i think everyone was drunk with exhaustion, and some were drunk with other stuff too
the place was TOTALLY packed
there was the dull drown of a resturant which would periodically be interupted by someone shouting
and the whole place screaming for seriously 3 minutes
and then we would all go back to eating our mac and cheese.

it was a beautiful beautiful beautiful night
and it still feels beautiful.

this is what the washington post had to say, or someone, i can't remember where i got this now.
Washington, DC -- One of the things about the experience of covering election night from inside the bubble of a TV studio is that one becomes slightly paranoid that the entire event has been staged for the cameras: a cruel Truman Show kind of experiment, the illusion to be broken only once one leaves the premises and is interrupted by a passerby saying, "No, silly, Obama didn't carry Ohio! And they're having a recount again in Florida!"

What I actually found upon leaving the studio, however, was a spontaneous display of joy in the Nation's Capital. Mere blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, in a buttoned-down section of America's only remaining buttoned-downed town, horns were honking in a ticker-tape stream until three in the morning, and strangers black, white and otherwise were hooting and hollering and giving one another thumbs-ups and high-fives as they passed each other on the street.

There was no sense of anger, or rivalry, no sense that the enemy had been vanquished. There was, rather, a tremendous sense of empowerment in the notion that someone more like them was going to take up residence down the street: someone younger, someone blacker, someone poorer, someone who knew that the majesty of America exists not just in the tranquility of its small towns but also in the bustle of its cities.

I don't know what this ultimately means for the country. But good luck finding a newspaper this morning.

as i rode to work the next day, i got teary as i looked at the capitol and thought about what this will no mean
everyone had a smile on their face
we all looked at each other and we all felt connected
it seriously feels like walls have already come down.
i seriously can't wait for the next 4 years
i really hope it is everything i expect it to be!

i have so much more to say about this election, but for now, i will leave you with this...

i have read the NYT article annoucing his victory so many times. but i still get teary! i think it deserves to be read again!

Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

Mr. Obama's election amounted to a national catharsis — a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama's call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country. But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation's fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.


Birdie in DC said...

awesome post!! it's great to relive it all, what a thrill! Your enthusiasm and energy really motivated me to go the extra mile.

Janna said...

Congratulations, Kimberly! I'm convinced that your campaigning alone won Virginia.

I, too, have been moved by my friends from other countries' exclamations of hope and joy for us.

Keller Clan said...

I was laughing outloud. Especially when I read you ate a hamburger! What? :) You're such a hippie chick. That post is hilliarious. You and Joan, huh? I like that I have met some of your friends now, like Bethany & Cheryl. Fittingly, Curtis is on the phone to his parents right now and just said, "Why do people think that this guy is like the Messiah?" I guess he hasn't read your post. Or maybe he has...

teabelly said...

i was hoping people would understand the ridiculousness of my election night diet. HAMBURGER! give me a break. and i ate it in my car because i bought it before i bought the broccoli.

also, a donut! when was the last time i had that. and the an ice cream topper. honestly.

so yeah, i think i was a true patriot that night.

k8 said...

oh kimberly-this wrap up was fantastic!!! i am sooo sad i was in a hotel in new york that night and not somewhere amongst the Obama faithful but i too cried and cried during his speech. i still get emotional thinking about it. what a great four years this will be!

Snowbunny in the City said...

I'm so glad you took a picture of the ballot. I wanted to, but chickend out. I didn't want to get kicked out. But I totally cried when I drew my little line too. Isn't America awesome.

allydru said...

wow, way to go. talk about walking the talk. or talking while walking. either way, you are my civic hero.

and having single-handedly swung the state of indiana in the right direction, I too feel like a true patriot.

here's to the prospect of closing guantanamo, and four years of full sentences with correctly pronounced words. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

SETHER+ONE said...

I ran across your blog a little while back and have REALLY appreciated your Obama enthusiasm! It seems like not too many people are happy about Obama round these parts (Utah), so I revel in like minded people. My husband and I are so excited! Great job on all your campaigning. I think that's fantastic.

April said...

Kim, there are many things about you that inspire me. Your activism is one more!

artsy ann said...

ok, so i haven't gotten through the whole post but I got to the part about filling in the ballot and I seriously filled in that box 3 times over.