Wednesday, June 4

Austin, Day 1

Dear Clinton Supporters,
I want you know that there’s no bad blood between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I want you to hear me out, maybe not today, but at least by the time September rolls along, I want you to prick your ears up. I want you to be able to take what you’ve heard and read to filter out who speaks the truth. If there are any grievances you hold, I want you to talk to Obama staffers and other volunteers about what we can do to fix it. We are sure you can help us, and so we’ll be eager for you to make the first step through the doors of an Obama HQ.
There have been some harsh and completely ridiculous lies tossed around about both our candidates. In the many months working for the Obama campaign, I’ve never heard any of these lies perpetuated by anyone I’ve had the honor to work along side. Like you, I’ve had to defend my candidate against jeering and criticism sometimes coming from a place of hate and prejudice. I don’t know which one of us has had it harder. Imagine my surprise when I found myself defending Hillary Rodham Clinton to a trio of older men, a couple strangers in line at the coffee shop. These men were bad-mouthing the Clintons for pushing women’s rights in not so formulated a thought. They were bad-mouthing women, and strength, and equal opportunity. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t yet had my coffee, but I’d rather think it was the sight of three good ole boys feeling bright spouting this kind of despicable nonsense in public space compelled me to confront them. I excused myself into their conversation and pressed them for more information. I ended the conversation with the leader saying, “I wasn’t sure you were an idiot, but thanks for clearing that up.” He said I was owing to his generation for my schooling. I shot back with, “I am very glad to have your support for education.” I then asked them if they’d like to contribute to the Texas State Democratic Party. They said they were voting with McCain.
The coffee girl dropped the sullen look from her face. That morning I didn’t pay for my coffee. She was an Obama girl, to top it off, but she remarked at how those men always came to talk so loud everyone could hear. I go to that café regularly now, and those men haven’t been back.
Whether you like us or not, we are willing to help you. What this should mean to you is that Obama people consciously the proper respect and consideration to the great number of people and ideas out there. Indeed, we do not give preference to rights and privileges to people who like us over people who don’t. We do not take the freedom or the citizenship we are given in this country for granted. We know that if America is great, we are the ones who must make sure we keep it there.
Now, you’re looking at a young guy like me and thinking I’m the new kid on the block. I’ll give fair warning that you should start getting used to this face and other faces like mine. We are not the youth responsible for voting Obama into the White House. We are the older brothers and sisters of the youth that is voting Obama into the White House. We almost turned our backs on the government. We almost kept to our business or professional degrees, to entertainment, to building up our own families with the idea that government could not be trusted. Being connected to the internet, many of us still stayed informed. We know that most of what’s said on TV and on stumps effect a small amount of people extraordinarily. The biggest change most of us will see is a politician keeping his job a little longer. We’re a generation of skeptics, we learned quickly how to filter through the many contradicting news sources from around the globe. We want to show you what we’ve learned, and listen to what you have to teach. We’d been waiting half in vain, but at the same time ready to take our places if that day would ever come.
The day has come, dear Democrats. We expect many of you who are used to the way government has always been issued to feel a little uncomfortable. When you read Obama’s website, you might dismiss “We are the change we have been waiting for” as ‘fancy talk’. You might think these words mean nothing. It is real. It is a very real and pragmatic message that energizes many of us to the fact that Obama is opening up the door.
Take me, for example. I’m not the kind of person you normally see at a political convention, at least not the kind asking for your support. I’ll admit I could probably use a haircut and a fitness plan, but what I do know is that my younger brother is happy to see me join in the movement of leadership in the arena of politics. He’s serving in the Air Force. He asked me “What’s taken y’all so long?” The answer to that is “We thought we were alone.”
My brother knows that this is a democratic republic. He understands that if something is not working, by the will of the people, we can do much to change that by our institutions. We try new things and throw out what doesn’t work. It’s not a matter of if but when. In all likelihood, it will become necessary to try new policies again soon. He hears a number of opinions on base every day, yet decides for himself to cut through the fat and vote for Obama. He’s confident in me. He’s confident in this country. He believes that it is not be a matter of when anymore, because we know the answer to that other important question: Who?
So many of the good men and women who’ve been working to correct the system from within have had to wait, and they are now making their move. You see, it’s not a campaign of pretty sounding rhetoric. It isn’t blind overstepping by the peace-lovers and naïve youth. Many of the Senators and statesmen are joining Obama in this very real and pragmatic movement for change. If you have a solution, he will hear it out. You can make a difference even if your allegiances are not all in line with his. Now we know we are not alone, and the older brothe irs and sisters of America’s youth believe this country has a place for them, for our government, for our grandparents, our earth, and our neighbors. We’ve been waiting for something to save us, and now we’re here.
You’ve got to know that a smear campaign is coming. It’ll be big and ugly. Much of the smear will come from outside Republican Party-funded organizations. If you think we’ve seen the worst, the rather flaccid attempts by John McCain will be supplemented by nefarious and irresponsible die-hard conservative groups. Their weakness is that they are small group of people that has done much to deceive the supporters of their own party. You will hear every insult and innuendo coming from these groups. Do not lump all Republicans in together. We can get a few of them on our side. Responding with hostility is what the RNC is banking on to stand a fighting chance this election. You must prepare yourself with reasonable and stalwart answers. You must ready your heads with your hearts in the right place.
I am running for a DNC slot. I want you to know that there are more important things than my receiving your vote. Please hear what I have tried to express in this appeal to Clinton supporters. This change isn’t anything guaranteed to happen. We know that we are exercising a Democratic ideal by supporting Barack Obama. We are moving towards something grand, but we are moving in one direction. This is how a nation can change.

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