October 14, 2008

Beautiful

This is from Zach Exley's article about the Obama ground operation.

A well-run organizing campaign is the most beautiful thing in the world: people know what they're working for; they have little successes everyday; they prepare for problems ahead of time and have great fun attacking them when they happen. Everyone is in a state of constant euphoria. In the end, win or lose, you have built something that gives you hope for the future—hope that humanity can, as it turns out, work cooperatively towards a better future and succeed.

In the middle of a good organizing campaign, volunteers will stop and tell you that they are becoming better people. That's sounds cheesy, doesn't it? But I'll tell you, I wrote that line in a first draft of this article while waiting for my own neighborhood team meeting to start in Westport, Kansas City, Missouri. I looked at it and thought, "People won't buy that." I figured I'd delete it.

Then, at the end of our meeting, my neighborhood team leader, Jennifer Robinson, totally unprompted, told me: "I'm a different person than I was six weeks ago." I asked her to elaborate later. She said, "Now, I'm really asking: how can I be most effective in my community? I've realized that these things I've been doing as a volunteer organizer—well, I'm really good at them, I have a passion for this. I want to continue to find ways to actively make this place, my community, a better place. There's so much more than a regular job in this—and once you've had this, it's hard to go back to a regular job. I'm asking now: Can I look for permanent work as an organizer in service of my community? And that's a question I had not asked myself before the campaign. It never occurred to me that I could even ask that question."

Through the meeting, Jennifer had inspired and commanded the room of 50 new volunteers on top of her five team members who already had roles. Her seven year old daughter had been staring up at her with calm awe the whole time. Good organizing changes the world. In fact, it's what humanity is made out of. Every one of us is the product of centuries upon centuries of the struggle between good organizing and bad organizing. Barack Obama—through the most incredible, random, beautiful, twists of history—has brought good organizing back. God bless him and the army of volunteer and paid organizers who are making it real.

Perhaps there really is hope for the future.

Posted by Mary at October 14, 2008 11:18 PM | Elections | Technorati links |
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