Choices, change and a state senator

I’ve put considerable though into what I think of this election and its results regard president. As a politically active  citizen I was unhappy with either of my options and place the blame squarely on those of you who do not participate or follow your local election.

If you want to know who I voted for read this before asking, as there were only roughly 6% of you that voted in the August primary.

I regularly harp on people to “vote local” which is exactly what the local Democratic Party has been pounding home in message after message this year.

I feel this is important because just four years ago Barack Obama was a virtually unknown Illinois State Senator who was running for US Senate. He was given the opportunity to be the keynote speaker for John Kerry’s 2004 nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Our own Ernest Hooper dedicated a column to the speaker, whose “words (were) felt by every American” following the event.

According to Hooper:

Obama, 42 and likely the next U.S. senator from Illinois, gave a keynote speech not just for the Democratic Party, but for America. The buzz of his heartfelt sincerity and poignant personal story began reverberating across the nation.

The son of a Kenyan immigrant and Kansas native, Obama is the product of a interracial marriage. His Ivy League pedigree – degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School – belies his humble upbringing. A University of Chicago law professor and state senator, Obama carries considerable political and legal experience.

But on Tuesday, he was simply a son of the United States. He was us. All of us.

Some quotes and thoughts from Tampa Bay locals at the time:

  • Delano Stewart, an Army veteran said “I wanted to go put on my uniform and salute him.”
  • Todd Schnitt, a conservative syndicated radio host based in Tampa, had to concede this is a man with a successful political future.
  • Frank Sanchez corrected an opinion that Obama could someday be America’s first black president by stating instead “He’s a man who could be president. Period.”

I suggest watching the speech not as example of what beliefs you should or should not have but rather because it illustrates perfectly my argument for local involvement.

To witness an unknown State Senator become the face of a political party and just 48 months later (less time than many people’s car loans) become the President of the United States simply by giving one inspirational speech is absolutely the best example I can think of.

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