Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bursting the Bubble

Today I headed out to canvas for Obama in Michigan with my regular group of Oak Park and River Forest women. The campaign sent us to Benton Harbor. Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are divided by the St. Joseph River and are known locally as "the twin cities," but in reality they are two entirely different places. After stopping in at the Obama office on Main Street in Benton Harbor we crossed the bridge to have lunch in a cafe on the quaint streets of St. Joseph. We passed the McCain office on our way to lunch and suddenly the importance of Michigan in this election smacked me in the face.

When we hit the streets in Benton Harbor (after witnessing a fight and calling 911) it was clear we were in an area that was not just poor, but poverty stricken and aimless. It felt as though more than 50% of homes were vacant uninhabitable board ups and people were wandering around looking for a sense of purpose. In all my campaigning these were the most dire American conditions I have seen.

We were canvasing to sporadic and unregistered voters tasked with registering people on the spot and providing applications for absentee ballots to those over 60. As dire as the conditions were there was a spirit about the place and a true sense of hope Obama will win in November. As soon as we left the car people in the community were approaching us asking to be registered. At one point a young girl who didn't think she could vote in November because her 18th birthday was in mid-October was gleefully using my back to fill out her voter registration! We bought buttons from the office and passed them out to eager Obama supporters and kept conveying over and over just how important every single vote in Michigan will be on November 4th. It is an overwhelming feeling.

I am left sitting here tonight in my lovely Oak Park bungalow considering the bubble a large number of Americans live in. Large portions of our country are completely unaware of the adverse conditions our fellow countrymen are living and working in everyday. I will continue to do my small part to get Obama elected; I am certain he is the change our country needs. I believe he will paint a picture of the real America, bring a heightened awareness to the needs of all of it's people, and make a plan for improvement.

I promised and Benton Harbor believes.

1 comment:

McGinty Clan said...

Good for You!

My boys have done many a photo shoot in good old Benton Harbor MI. A bleak place at best. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of all the things we take for granted


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