I got an email request from the Obama campaign to write a personal message to send to the superdelegates. Here's what I wrote.
I’ve lived in Iowa my whole life, so I’ve been been lucky to take advantage of all the attention our state receives before the caucuses. Four years ago, I was 18 and participated in my first caucus. It was fun to observe our democracy in action, but none of the candidates really excited me, or motivated me to do anything besides voting in November.
This year, however, was different.
After I had been wavering between Hillary and Barack for awhile, I went to an event where they both spoke, and was blown away by the power and conviction of Barack’s message. This was not easy for me - I admit that I’m usually a very cynical and skeptical person, not easily swayed by anything less than cold, hard logic. But the more I listened to and learned about Barack, the more I realized that not only did he have the ability to give people hope, but that he had plans and policies to back it up.
I found myself making the leap to something I’d never done before - actually wanting to volunteer for a campaign. I started canvassing for Barack, making phone calls from the local campaign office, and talking with people every chance I got about why they should care. I don’t normally consider myself a very influential person, but through my efforts, I got at least a dozen non-politically active friends to vote in the caucus for Barack.
The more I volunteered, the more I saw that I was making a difference. I canvassed and made calls in my hometown before the caucuses, and my precinct earned Barack an extra delegate. I joined the National Call Team, and made calls to voters in Connecticut, Nebraska, and Maine; among these were some amazing fifteen minute or longer conversations where I helped debunk the Muslim email attacks, or discussed the intricacies of Barack and Hillary’s platforms. Other people’s excitement and interest in the primaries was evident, and motivated me to keep volunteering. I also donated small sums of money whenever I could, and saw how millions like me were doing the same.
I know now that I can never go back to not caring and not being politically involved; and Barack is the inspiration for this. I’m not naive or idealistic, I know his campaign and his presidency will be imperfect, but I trust in Barack’s honesty, integrity, and character to be a strong leader, one who will do what is right, not what is politically convenient. One who will listen to the American people, not lobbyists, and carefully and intelligently make decisions. One who will not alienate part of the country, but will make an effort to unite us and transcend our divides. Because of Barack, I feel part of a movement, a positive movement in politics; one that I know is only just beginning.
I heard this song I LOVED at Espresso Royale today, but it was too loud to make out enough of the words to Google the lyrics. Don’t you just hate that? So, after trying everything I could think of, I turned to Last.fm, a website I’ve heard of but never used, and within 5 minutes of clicking on related artists under the female vocalist category, I find the song! Thank you, Internet. (Oh, and the song was by Regina Spektor.)
“According to a study, satisfied customers tell an average of three people about a product or service they like, and eleven people about a product or service which they do not like.”—http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing
A Showcase of Good Judgment: Barack Obama's Anti-Iraq War Speech, 2002
October 2, 2002
Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.
My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don’t oppose all wars.
After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush?
Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush?
Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not — we will not — travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.
“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes
the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information
creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that
attention efficiently among the overabundance of information
sources that might consume it.”—Herb Simon, political scientist, founding father of artificial intelligence, and Nobel Prize Winner in economics
"Staying the course is a prescription for avoiding reality. But simply setting a deadline and withdrawing might also constitute a form of denial — denial of what will happen in the region after a precipitous pullout. So what can be done?"