Join me down below for more on what happened yesterday, along with more pictures!
(Disclaimer: Yes, I am now part of the OC volunteer grassroots effort for Obama. No, I am not a paid staffer for ANYONE. Yes, I'm so far liking what I see with Obama. No, I don't think he's perfect. And yes, I am striving to continue giving fair treatment and a fair chance to all the other candidates.)
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
I was quite amazed when about two weeks ago, I began exploring the My.BarackObama.com web site. It almost seemed like one huge online community. And then, my heart nearly stopped when I was looking for anything in Southern California... And lo and behold, there's an Orange County group! I was quite heartened to see that there's already a Presidential campaign right in my area, and that this grassroots group was already getting organized. I wanted to find out more about Obama and about what the local campaign intends to do here, so I signed up for the two meet-ups.
At the first meet-up last Thursday in Costa Mesa, I was amazed to see that over thirty people braved the rain outside to come and talk about a candidate in a Presidential Election that is nearly a year away. However, what amazed me even more was that at the meeting, the Obama folks were already setting up a grassroots infrastructure for the entire county. Now all along I have been hoping that with the California Presidential Primary moving to February, that the campaigns would invest in local grassroots outreach efforts throughout the state to get people involved as well as to win votes. While the candidates may not be able to meet every California Democrat between now and next February, they can help local activists set up grassroots campaigns to reach out to EVERY CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT. Now while I know that some here have been worried that this early primary will mean the end of democracy as we know it, I think this already budding Obama grassroots movement demonstrates to us how the early primary can be a great tool for reviving Democratic activism in California.
Yesterday, I saw the same thing at the Fullerton Obama meet-up. Again, people from all walks of life and from throughout the county braved the gloomy weather outside and the always busy freeways to come and meet fellow Obama supporters in OC. And yes, about halfway through we were all setting up a real grassroots primary campaign here in Orange County, a place with so many Democrats, yet a place that is often ignored by the national Dems (except when they want money). And yes, you heard me right. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been so moved by all the local action for Obama that I want to volunteer and help. After all, what good is my ranting against the typical media-driven, consultant-crazed California campaign if I just stay at home and allow this to happen? Instead of sitting at home fretting about how everyone hates all these stupid robocalls and annoying TV ads, why not get out and talk to my neighbors about the campaign? And why not reach out to all my friends in my local Democratic clubs? And why not just engage in some real person-to-person contact that is all too often lost with these huge campaigns?
When I first heard about Obama's run for President, I wasn't all that enthused. However as time wore on, and I began to find out more about the Senator from Illinois, I became quite impressed. As I've said before:
OK, so Barack Obama does not have much real Beltway experience. However, he has fast been gaining experience on dealing with tough issues that aren't always considered "sexy" by the Beltway Pundits. For instance, Obama has worked with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) on nuclear non-proliferation. He's also worked on lobbying reform and ethics oversight. And let's not forget what he's done on energy security, trying to make our nation safer AND stop climate change by reducing American dependence on fossil fuels.
And you know what? These are all issues that matter to Americans, and issues that Californians care about. I know that I want a safer nation, and that I don't want complete nuclear annihilation. I know that I want a more ethical government, and an end to the same old culture of corruption. I know that I want to stop climate change, and for America to break free from its dependence upon fossil fuels. Obama has been coming up with practical solutions to these serious problems. And yes, he has been able to reach across the aisle without selling out his progressive soul.
And now to make things better, his campaign is now building that grassroots movement that inspires people like me to get involved. And now, I look forward to working with the dedicated activists at OC for Obama to make a difference here! Oh and by the way, if you like the pictures included in today's story, then please thank Beckie Smith for these awesome photos. And oh yes, check out her blog as well!