Posts Tagged ‘campaign’

Every Voice Counts

When you get the chance to learn about communication and citizen engagement from White House officials, those lessons tend to stick.

Two months after my visit to the White House for a White House Tweetup (#WHTweetup), what I learned has not only stayed firmly planted in my head. It’s blossomed in ways I hadn’t imagined it might.

Some of that is the perspective of time, I suppose, which I chatted about recently with my fellow Tweetup attendee, Joy Cook.

But I think it’s more than that. That’s because the most important thing I brought home was this ideal: Never underestimate the power of the American people to make change happen.

I wrote a blog post and Storify story about this, and the many other things I learned at the Tweetup, where our group met with Obama Administration officials.

Every voice counts

The principle that every one of us can make a difference is something I’ve always believed in. But hearing it from senior White House officials made me more determined than ever to live by this philosophy. Every day.

I began by finding ways to communicate with even greater clarity and purpose about what’s at stake in the upcoming election. I look to the White House and the Obama 2012 campaign (for which I am a volunteer) for guidance in what to say and the best ways to say it. With every Tweet, Facebook status update or blog post I write about the President’s accomplishments and goals, I can educate and inform people on the facts. Equally important, I can share positive energy and optimism.

Personal interactions are no different. With every conversation I have about current issues or the President’s vision for the country, I can change someone’s mind. I realize I won’t influence everyone’s opinion, but at least I can give people points to think about as they evaluate the candidates. I’ve learned to be prepared for these conversations, because they often happen spontaneously while you’re chatting with a friend or handing money to a cashier.

It can be as simple as making sure people are registered to vote and urging them to cast their ballot. That can open the door to talking about where the candidates stand and their records. People often don’t know about the many benefits of healthcare reform (“Obamacare“), or they don’t see how Detroit has come back since the auto rescue. Sharing facts can open people’s eyes and, maybe, their minds.

When I make phone calls to recruit volunteers, if people are too busy to give much time I remind them that they can do their part just by having these kinds of conversations with their friends and neighbors. They’re usually eager to know where they can get more information, which may motivate them to become volunteers in the coming months.

No question, my faith in the power of the people is stronger than ever since my visit to the White House. And everything I learned that day has heightened my awareness of ways to put that power to good use. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas — and they’re not hard to find.

Every voice counts

I’m motivated by the dedication of the people I met at the White House and the work they do every day to engage with citizens online and in person. I take inspiration from First Lady Michelle Obama, who speaks with volunteers on conference calls and reminds us how much she and the President value our efforts — and underscores their shared belief that each one of us can make a difference. Mrs. Obama’s passion for the importance of individual participation is so genuine it’s impossible not to want to do more.

It’s a passion she shares with President Obama, which is one of the reasons I hold him in such high esteem. He has always made me feel like my voice matters, that everyone’s voice counts. The President reinforced this ideal during the first Obama 2012 campaign rallies in early May, when he reminded all of us about the difference we can make in the future of our country. A future that still holds the promise of hope and change that’s all about helping every American lead the best life possible.

I’ve had few days as meaningful as the one I spent at the White House. I can only imagine how incredible it must be to work there. But you don’t have to work at the White House to make a difference in this country. You just have to use your talent and your voice to help bring about the change you believe in.

 

Relationships built to last

There’s more than one kind of relationship. And there’s more than one way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This year, I spent a couple hours of my Valentine’s Day at the Obama for America Oakland County, Mich., HQ in Pontiac, where I got to know a great group of OFA team members, volunteers and supporters.

It was an all-day open house, where anyone could stop in for a one-on-one conversation with an OFA organizer to learn more about getting involved. Dozens of people came by to get to know OFA — and every one of them left feeling fired up and ready to go.

Relationships built to last

It seemed like a lot of the folks there were already eager to get involved because they jumped right in. People signed up to host house parties. They made phone calls to other supporters right then and there. They signed up to join neighborhood teams or volunteer for various tasks. There’s truly a volunteer opportunity for everyone.

I love being at events like these, because there’s a buzz of energy that is unmistakable. It’s the power of positive thinking, of believing in the reason you’re there and what you’re there to do. Everyone who was there today is committed to President Obama’s re-election campaign, because they see he’s already leading our country in the right direction and want to give him four more years to keep working for the good of every American.

Relationships built to lastWhat’s even cooler? The fact that long after the one-on-one sessions were done, assignments were made and people were signed up to help, they stuck around. Because they just wanted to chat. They wanted to talk about President Obama’s accomplishments and their reasons for getting involved. They wanted to share their pride in our President and their faith in his leadership.

With energy and enthusiasm like that, there’s nothing this team can’t do.

We’re fired up and ready to go. And ready to win.

 

 

We can’t wait to take action

“Are you fired up?!”

“Yes!”

“Are you ready to win?!”

“Yes!”

“Are you ready for the Democrats to win?!”

“YES!”

That was the battle cry that began the Day of Action at our local Organizing for America (OFA) meeting. The 2012 Presidential election is one year from today, November 6, and President Obama’s campaign held a national Day of Action to recruit, inform and mobilize volunteers.

Leading the spirited chant was Melissa Bernardi, regional field director for OFA in Oakland County, Mich. She was joined by Frank Houston, chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party, in rallying the many volunteers who were there. Some of the volunteers worked on the first campaign, while others were brand-new today, wanting to know what they could do to help.

And it’s not a moment too soon. As Houston pointed out, the President has to go on the road campaigning for a jobs bill that should have passed with little fuss. Nothing in the 2012 election is going to be easy, which is why we can’t wait, he said. We have to get to work now.

Each of us was asked to decide what we would to do to help get President Obama and more Democrats elected in 2012 — and to start doing it now. We were told everything we can do is important, and the more we stretch ourselves the better. No one seemed daunted.

We can't wait to take action

After brief introductions, we split into our neighborhood groups to discuss plans we have in place and what we want to do next. Then true to the spirit of the day, we took action: making phone calls, writing letters to local newspaper editors, making signs to carry outside the GOP debate in Michigan later this week. The tasks today were, as usual, about making sure citizens understand the key issues, what the Democrats stand for and what the President wants to do to improve our country.

Everyone was eager to do their part, from the high school student who came to educate herself on the issues to the retiree who now has the time to give that he didn’t before. It was a diverse group of all ages and backgrounds, including a family that brought their kids. Seeing parents teaching their children about the importance of getting involved may have been my favorite part of the day.

Oakland County is going to be one of the fiercest battlegrounds in the 2012 election, and I don’t think a single person there today has any doubt that we can do whatever it takes to win. The volunteers were cheered on by visitors including Congressman Gary Peters and Phillip Reid, chair of the North Oakland Democratic Club, who came by to say thank you to everyone who was there.

Being appreciated is an excellent thing. But I suspect we’d all be there anyway. We believe in the people and principles we support.

How do I know? Because when Bernardi asked us to affirm our commitment one more time, I’m pretty sure they could hear us all the way to the White House.

“ARE. YOU. FIRED. UP?!”

“YESSSSSSS!”

Yes. Yes, we can. Again.

 

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