Today I spent the morning working for the Barack Obama campaign. I must admit I was a bit anxious going into some of the poorest neighborhoods in our city where you generally don't see any middle class white guys walking around. I wasn't particularly anxious about talking to African Americans, rather, I was concerned about running into pit bulls who often roam the streets of poor neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. I was so glad I wore my Barack Obama tee shirt. The tee shirt apparently gave me street cred with the locals who to my surprise treated me with a certain amount of celebrity status as soon as the spotted Barack's infectous smile on the front of my tee shirt. Even some of the local gangsters types stopped and talked with me as I moved about the apartment complex where we were canvassing. All in all it was a very positive experience but one encounter in particular really touched me.
I walked up to the door and knocked on the screen door. The voice on the other end yelled, what do you want?...I walked right up to the screen door and our eyes met. She peered at my eyes...she looked suspicious... probably wandering what a middle class white guy was doing in her poor neighborhood where only poor minorities, mostly African Americans lived. I spoke up and said with a loud voice..."I am a volunteer for the Obama Campaign." The door flung open and to my surprise she threw her arms around me as if she had been waiting for my arrival for months and then this 83 year old frail woman who is dying of cancer danced around the living room while she sang the praises of Barack Obama. She then said something about hoping to live long enough to vote on election day.She then grabbed my hand and led me into her living room where I sat for about fifteen minutes listening to her story about cancer and living in a crack infested apartment complex. She then asked if she could have a Barack Obama button like the one I was wearing. I gave her mine. She was so happy and before I left I asked her if she needed a ride to the voting booth on election day. She said she did so when I got back to the headquarters later that day I made arrangements for someone to pick her up and take her to the voting booth... I will probably never see this dear soul again on this side of heaven but I don't think I will ever forget the spirit of this woman who I hope and pray lives long enough to cast her vote for Barack Obama on November 3. I was deeply touched by her even though I was only in her presence for such a brief time. This was the highlight of the campaign season for me.