On Friday we are taking a leap of faith and driving down to South Carolina to volunteer for a week with the Obama campaign. We don’t even know where we’ll be (one of the four urban field offices, most likely), but we are excited to do our part in writing a new future for our country.
We are at a crossroads in American history when we must decide whether we will continue to play out the legacy of the Reagan era, or whether we are ready to tell a new story. And I believe that the time is now for a renewal, and that we don’t have eight years to limp along on a dissipated ideology.
Critics have accused Obama of being abstract and vague, mistaking a strategic decision to focus on an overarching vision as covering for a lack of underlying substance. It’s only in the last week that I’ve realized that — duh — we live in a nation with a President, not a Prime Minister, and that the character of that President really does matter. So the “voting public” has had it right all along: pick the person, not the platform. Which is not to say that Obama lacks for actual policy — far from it. It’s just that I’ve never had a stronger feeling in my life that Barack Obama is the person we now to lead us into a new era of peace, prosperity, and justice.
Obama is a man of character, a person of faith but also with faith: faith in Americans, in humanity, in the justice of God’s creation. And it’s in the waning days of an era, when people have been in the trenches so long that they’ve forgotten why some call themselves Republicans and others Democrats and others stopped caring altogether, that we most need someone to come lift us out of the mud and to point out a new way to see ourselves. Perhaps such faith and hope is naive, but the cynics have had their way long enough. Let them play their game of horsetrading and cobbling together petty interests. If a democracy is to survive we must periodically rise above that shallow and narrow view of ourselves and instead reaffirm our conviction in our common principles.
And in the coming weeks we’re proud to be part of the movement that will restore America as a city on a hill.