Keep Up the Fight.

upload, originally uploaded by _ambrown.
The internet has been wonderfully inundated with many overused cliches (and some awesome memes) about how satisfying it is to wake up in a country that has reaffirmed a commitment to rewriting a more progressive social contract, but I wanted to add my own two cents about last night. As Obama spoke, and positive results for important social and economic causes continued to trickle in, my mind drifted to the countless hours that many of my friends and colleagues and I have spent fighting for progressive politicians and progressive causes in a litany of stakeholder advisory committee meetings, late night data entry sessions, or crunch-time phonebanking. I've written previously how I only get really motivated around matters of local significance; it's a lot easier for me to personally get worked up about the need for Immersion Program funding at my own neighborhood school or support for safer streets than blandly supporting "Team Blue" in their quest to get more pots of money for these things I like from byzantine bureaus and agencies.

But Obama's remarks last night echoed his call in 2008 to rebuild America "block by block," a deliberate phrasing that has a particular resonance to anyone who has ever stood out in the rain in an unknown neighborhood with a clipboard and wet socks, looking up addresses, sizing up doorbells and angry dogs. It's also particularly resonant to anyone who lives in a city, on a Cartesian grid of similarly looking houses and apartments, where the end of the block is marked by that new business with the owner you like and not an empty cul-de-sac or facade of endless garages. Barack Obama's speech was laced with these direct, references to his own explicit experiences on the South Side and a need for continued, persistent presence of citizen participation in the democratic process; I don't think it's a stretch to say that the guy is America's first Community Organizer-in-Chief. It might have been the beer, and a smug need of a self-pat-on-the-back, but you know, I found myself thinking, we're up to some good things. I'm so tremendously impressed by some truly amazing people that are standing up and fighting for their community, however they define "standing up," however they define "fighting," and however they define "community." From marriage rights to climate change, safe streets to equitable communities, Occupy to the Ballot Box and GOTMFV. I hope others are basking in the warm glow of last night's victories as I am, and I hope others awoke today as I did with an extra spring in their step, and a feeling that all our little work in our little block-by-block neighborhoods adds up to something pretty fucking remarkable: an awesome american democracy. keep up the fight!

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