It's easy to forget, sometimes, that even while we—Fall Fellows, the intrepid organizers—are forging community teams and ceaselessly calling volunteers to phone-bank, host events and register voters in Nevada, that there are already Democratic clubs across the state that are just waiting to be asked to put their impressive volunteer force to work for the President.
I was invited to talk at the local Democratic club in Northeast LA about what OFA was doing in the area, and to pass out "I'm In" cards so that members could become involved with the President’s campaign. The longevity of these clubs is in fact one of their most important assets—one we transient organizers would do well to utilize. Equally important are those volunteers for whom this election is the first foray into the political world.
One such volunteer, whom I met at the meeting, is Amy. Amy told me when we met that the President's message of hope and inclusion completely transformed her view of American politics and politicians. Amy grew up in a small, rural town in Washington state, where "all politics is local" was more than simply an adage. Citizens voted and thought unilaterally, she said, out of comfort and tradition as much as actual conviction, and so she never really gave politics much thought.
This changed when she came to California. Suddenly, the people she met cared about politics, and talked about them often. Community engagement was replaced with broader civic engagement—as her world became larger, so did her field of political interest, and she began educating herself about the goings on in the world. She had never thought, she explained, that what politicians did in Washington D.C. effected her directly, or that her vote and opinion could matter. But the 2008 campaign changed all of that.
"It changed the way I thought about the relationship between myself and politics. Barack Obama said that we could change things, make things better. He didn't say it would be easy, but he said we could make a difference, and I could see that he was right. And I had hope."
Amy's hope transformed her from political bystander to participant, and it continues to transform her—this time, into a volunteer. "I'm 28 years old, and I finally feel like I can effect the world I live in for the better. The President is moving this country forward, and I'm going to be a part of that."
Join Amy and sign up to volunteer in Los Angeles today.