by: Will Bruzzo
Now that Obama’s inauguration has come and gone, and a new era has dawned for America, I feel the time is right to express a little disappointment. No, I am not disappointed in Obama’s election. Quite the opposite. I campaigned vigorously on his behalf. My disappointment stems, instead, from the invitation to the inauguration that never came; the telephone call that was never made; the brief mention in a speech, using people like me as examples of committed Americans, that was never uttered. Even a handwritten card signed by Malia and Sasha would have made me happy.
Let me explain. In July of 2008, I attended an event called “Camp Obama” in Long Beach. This all-weekend, eight-hour-a-day training session taught volunteers how to organize phone-banks and get out the vote. It was a wonderful experience where I met other similarly committed people who wanted to make a change. I even heard some confess they were “recovering Republicans” who had decided to switch party affiliations. Although a long two days, it was an opportunity to learn politics on the grassroots level and meet like-minded people.
“Camp Obama” also required participants to attend a weekend training session in Las Vegas, and then spend another five days prior to the election in Las Vegas. Californians were sent to Nevada in droves because, while California was already a certainty for Obama, Nevada was still well within the margin of error. Literally thousands of Californians poured into Northern and Southern Nevada, participating in phone banks and knocking on doors. In fact, so many Californians were promoting the Democratic ticket, they swept Nevada Democrats into the majority in the state senate and Obama won Nevada by 13 points. (Perhaps, understandably, the Nevada Democrats kept their gratitude to California to themselves.) The Californians who went to Nevada took days off work, paid for their own travel and for their own lodging. Even phone calls to potential voters were made from personal cell phones, without reimbursement. Many of us also contributed the maximum individual donation towards the cause.
My motivation boiled down to this: I wanted to make sure that on the day after the election, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I could say that I had done everything I could toward the goal of effecting the necessary change the county needed.
Naturally, I cannot ignore that I was only one of thousands willing to leave friends and family to join this all-encompassing movement. The memories of knocking on doors in poor neighborhoods, and experiencing the enthusiasm for Barack Obama, will certainly remain with me. I will never forget the people I joined forces with; many professionals, who like me, might have benefited from the tax policies of the Republicans, but chose to do what was right for the vast majority of the country. So while I wouldn’t trade those memories, a little act of appreciation might be nice. I’m not asking for anything exorbitant. Maybe a phone call or a game of hoops on the new basketball court. How about half court? Please?