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Those were the three words that graced a poster in the conference room where a group of us were getting our precinct assignments this morning.

We were last minute volunteers getting trained at Obama Headquarters in downtown Oakland; we were to be plugged into precincts that had yet to find a captain.

Each of us was to become responsible, with a partner, for 70-100 voters. Door-knocking, precinct walking, calling, leaving door hangers in the AM and following through with each of our voters on election day till the polls close.

The woman training us was bright, persuasive and personable. She'd done this before. She exuded a real world knowledge of the realities of going door to door in cities like Oakland and Hayward and Richmond. Like so many people you meet on Barack Obama's campaign, she believed in what she was doing and that conviction shone through. She told us to act on our own convictions. To learn the script and then make it our own. Those voters were ours.

And, yeah, it's indicative of the casual poetry of the Obama campaign, its seemingly boundless bounty of coincidence, no one remarked that our precinct trainer's name was Esperanza, or hope...

Respect, Empower, Include.

Those aren't just words on a poster at the Oakland office, those are three words that, as Esperanza told us, express the core internal values of the Obama campaign. Sure, Senator Obama is running to win. You don't outraise your opponent by millions of dollars with the help of hundreds of thousands of small online donors if you aren't serious about winning an election.

But he's also running to prove that you can win big by winning the right way, by bringing out the best in people, by showing respect, by empowering, by including.

I'm not going to sugar coat it. I've walked precincts before. It's hard work. It's a far cry from a touchy feely experience embodied by touchy feely words. My knuckles hurt from rapping on doorjambs. I've been on my knees all day shoving lit under doors, I've been stuck outside security trellises squinting into homes at faces I can't see.

But there's 77 people in Oakland who are counting on me; I've walked and called and persuaded today. I'm their guy. I told everyone, "Hey, I'm around, I'm right here till this election is over. I'm here for you."

As Esperanza said. "Nobody's done ground like this in a California Presidential primary since Bobby Kennedy. You're part of that."

And we are. We're a team.

And from my point of view, that motto, those core values about how to treat people, how to talk to people, how to communicate absolutely shine through.

Respect. Empower. Include.

I'd be lying if I didn't have a question to ask of you. If you support Senator Obama would you like to join us this last 24 hours?

We can use your help, no matter where you live in the USA.

I'm not saying it's gonna be easy. What I'm saying is that it's gonna be worth it. And there's still so much you can do, from phone banking to visibility, to sign making to bringing some grub or setting up the office for when the precinct walkers return from the field. Your actions will yield votes.

It's really simple.

Click on one of these links, the rest will be obvious:


{Okay, if the servers are down, do what Maria Shriver said, and talk to five friends about your vote. Like Esperanza said to us this AM, "You're smart, you know what to do."}

Vote hope.


Originally posted to kid oakland on Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 05:43 PM PST.

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