For me, a remarkable string of campaign trips started because of a casual conversation – a conversation between good friends about how a certain aspiring American leader was offering and in many ways exemplifying so much of what we sought from our own politics. I never thought I’d meet that man, talk to him, and certainly not travel tens of thousands of miles to campaign for him, repeatedly(!) – but in 2008, I did – and the experiences I had along the way, and the cherished memories I hold from them, will stay with me forever.
Years before he would eventually become President of the United States, Barack Obama began to fascinate us. He inspired many in 2004, with his call for an end to the steep divisions that have – for far, far too long – defined politics not only in the United States, but throughout much of the world. He demanded unity, and he demanded better from his fellow citizens and leaders.
As a candidate for President, his demands began to resonate more strongly with my friends and I. His story was so compelling, his promise so exciting, and his courage so necessary for a troubled and violent world that we quite simply decided we had to be a part of ensuring Barack Obama and his ideals could win.
In a spur of the moment decision, we packed three carloads full of enthusiastic Canadians and campaigned for the final push in the Washington Caucuses, way back in February of 2008. We phoned relentlessly, that first night. We made posters, we folded pamphlets, prepared walk packs, set up caucus station leaders’ packs and had an absolute blast. We were in Snohomish County, on the edge of Everett. I thought, going down to work on this brief campaign, that it would be a first and last quick foray into the inner machinations of a one-of-a-kind Presidential campaign, but what we discovered when we won that on Saturday Caucus in February – the day Barack won his first state after ‘Super Tuesday,’ – was that this was not so much a campaign as a movement. Excited, inspired, and motivated by how easy it could be to help bring about such important change, we then became some of that’s movement’s most active footsoldiers.
I campaigned in Washington, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia. We took some big groups and some small ones – all inspired young Canadians (with the exception of Kaila Ann from Snohomish!!!) from across the full spectrum of Canadian political affiliations – and some who had never been involved in any sort of politics ever before.