Alan Kennedy-Shaffer wrote the book The Obama Revolution, an intriguing look behind the scenes at the 50 state election strategy and the grassroots movement instrumental in the election of President Barack Obama. Alan graciously agreed to write a guest post for Linus’s Blanket. Check back for my review tomorrow, but in the meantime here’s a peek at what Alan has to say about his new book and about his experiences with the 44th President of the United States.
A New Era
“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.”
With these words, Barack Obama accepted the mantle of leadership and became the 44th President of the United States. Seizing gladly the responsibility to lead our nation through our generation’s darkest hour, Obama committed himself to a new era. Standing on the Capitol steps, Obama issued a call to arms that resonated around the world. Obama cannot change the world alone. Together we will succeed.
With the Dow reaching 12-year lows, unemployment rates reaching record highs, and the housing market and financial institutions heading toward Great Depression levels, now might not seem like the best time to “speak frankly and directly” to the American people about the nation’s economy. That is exactly what Obama did in his Inaugural Address on January 20, and what he did in his address to Congress on February 24:
“If we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed…‘something worthy to be remembered.’”
Barack Obama’s new era of responsibility flows, as if by a guiding hand, from the greatest campaign in American history. Engaging millions of Americans in the task of reaching out to their neighbors, organizers in every state reached out to volunteers and voters from all walks of life and stirred something powerful in the American psyche. As a regional field director for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia, I had the opportunity to work on the front lines.
In The Obama Revolution, the first book about Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign written by someone who actually worked on the campaign, I describe meeting Obama several times in various places. I have shaken Obama’s hand in Washington, DC, in Richmond, Virginia, and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. But it was my first encounter with Obama, before his candidacy began, that is indelibly etched in my memory:
I first met Obama on May 18, 2005, in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Meeting Obama convinced me that he truly believed what he was telling the nation. He made me promise that I would do everything in my power to bring about positive change.
This passage appears in The Obama Revolution along with many other memories of Barack Obama—the senator, the candidate, the president—from a campaign that heralded a new era of responsibility for a generation ready to meet the challenge. Armed with hope and the promise of a new kind of politics, we must do everything in our power to bring about positive change.
The Obama Revolution is more than a campaign. It is the dawn of a new era in American history in which our nation’s beacon will burn brighter than ever. Let us seize the opportunity gladly.