A few days ago, something huge happened: a volunteer in Colorado called an ‘08 supporter, and they had a conversation.
Why are we so excited about this phone call? It was the one millionth conversation of our campaign. To mark the occasion, National Field Director Jeremy Bird took a few minutes to explain why these one-on-one meetings are so important.
“Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice. If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that’s not something we do — period.”—President Obama (via azspot)
Morgan sent this in this morning and it kind of made our day:
“We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change. We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the sprit of a people. Yes we can.”
This quote literally changed my life when I heard it. I was fourteen years old, a freshman in high school, and not an American citizen. I was avoiding my homework and staying up later than I should so I could watch the results of the New Hampshire primary. Even until this night, I wasn’t sure who I would support in the primary. My mom was pro-Clinton, my dad, the closet Republican, was leaning towards Giuliani, and my siblings didn’t care. Even though Senator Obama lost, when I heard his speech, I knew he was the candidate for me.
The “Yes We Can” speech is my motivation for everything I do in politics. It is why I volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008, despite not being a citizen and being an underclassman in high school. It is why I made calls, knocked on doors, and wore buttons. It is why I made the crazy decision to want to work in politics. Four years later I am a freshman studying Political Science, involved in Young Democrats and Tar Heels for Obama, UNC’s “Greater Together” movement. I am applying for every summer internship I can think of that will help the Obama campaign, especially in North Carolina, a swing state.
I recently became an American citizen and registered to vote, appropriately, at President Obama’s speech at N.C. State University. I am honored to be working as a part of Obama 2012 in something that is so much bigger than myself, for an administration that has already brought about change and will continue to bring much needed change to the United States. And any time I start to feel upset or cynical about the partisanship or gridlock in Washington, I open YouTube and watch the “Yes We Can” speech. I remind myself of what I’m here for, what we can become, and to keep on working.
Yesterday, we asked you to send in your favorite President Obama quotes for possible posterification. Here’s what we found in our inbox.
V. said, “A personal favorite quote from POTUS is this one from his 2008 convention speech.”
“America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.”
L.M. sent in:
“Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”
Here’s D.C. favorite:
"Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it."
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
I am a 28 year old mother of two amazing young girls. I graduated from an affordable state university at the top five percent of my class but sometimes I wonder if my education was worth it. We can barely pay our rent, let alone my student loans.
I have a strong, marketable skill set and have been told by several prospective employers that I have “amazing promise” as a young professional. But so many of us have amazing promise, and there are not enough jobs to go around.
We are a generation of strong-willed, talented individuals who want to lead, to innovate, and to change lives. But we are sitting on our potential, fighting over limited opportunities instead of working together toward a common goal: a better, more prosperous future.
I don’t want to be rich. But I don’t just want to work a dead end job the rest of my life, either. I want a career that allows me to utilize my talents and earn enough for my family to be comfortable. And more than anything, I want my daughters to grow up in a world where they have ample opportunity to use their talents to make the world a better place.
Some more stories this morning from people who are done waiting for Republicans in Congress to take action on jobs:
A.K. wrote in:
I am a college freshman who is going into education. I keep hearing that my chances of finding a job, especially one that I can actually use my passions and my talents, are going to be slim to none. I am sick of hearing this. Teaching is the groundwork where we are to build the next generation. My parents’ generation had done very little wrong, but it only takes a few people with too much power to put the future in jeopardy.
Teachers become the architects of the future and, as of now, there is far too much in the way of building the generation after my own.
I’m 27 years old with a master’s degree and I can’t find a job that pays more than nine dollars an hour.
I went to a small, inexpensive state college for my bachelor’s degree and did well enough to be accepted into a graduate program that waived 100% of my tuition and paid me a generous stipend to teach undergraduate courses, but now that I’m out of school I can’t make enough money to pay for an efficiency apartment, let alone make my undergraduate student loan payments.
I don’t know where I went wrong. I’m only able to stay afloat with my parents’ help and that fills me with shame. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a mountain I’m never going to be able to climb.
I am a college student at Humboldt State University (HSU), and I am married to a Navy veteran who is also attending HSU. We both dream of the day when we will be able to help others. We intend to be teachers, foster parents, and animal rescuers. There are so many opportunities to help others!
My husband and I were both raised poor. We are living off of the financial aid that the government has graced us with and the GI Bill that the government has given my husband as thanks for his service. I also work a minimum-wage job cashiering on campus, and we share a two-bedroom apartment with three other people just to make sure that we can afford our food and bills. This is not how I imagined entering my adult married life: still in school, working minimum wage, and having roommates.
We realize how lucky we are to have one another, our good health, and my meager job, but with graduation looming in the spring for the both of us… we are terrified. For the first time in my life I will no longer be a student, and I will have to use my degree to acquire a position somewhere. Hundreds of thousands of graduates enter the market each spring and fall with bright expectations and hefty amounts of debt.
Must it always be this way? We cannot wait.
Why can’t you wait for Republicans in Congress to take action on jobs? Submit your story.
My mother works three jobs, yet still makes less than $30,000 a year. I’m 20 years old and I had to leave the four-year university where I was studying because I couldn’t find a job to pay tuition.
Now I live at home again and am attending a local community college, but I still can’t find a job.
Although I’ve been fortunate enough to receive financial aid to pay for my classes, I often have problems getting to class because I can’t afford gas, and my mother, who supports me financially now, can’t either.
I know that it would be easier on both of us if I could find work, even if it’s just minimum wage, but no matter how professionally I dress for interviews, no matter how many times I call to check on my application, no matter the work/volunteer experience I have, no one will give me a job.
I am also a recent graduate on the job market. I went to a private university; the amount of student debt I have is insurmountable.
My parents brought me to this country when I was young because they believed I could achieve the American dream—they have both been working as manual laborers for over 15 years to provide for me and my education.
Now that I am old enough to support myself, but without a stellar job, I feel like I have failed them.
"Because I’m a freshman in college studying public health, and every day I’m reminded what a gamble I’ve put myself into. I pay $25,000 a year knowing that once I graduate from this university, I’ve just hit just the start of my debt and I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford med school because my chances of finding a job are slim.
"All my work could be pointless. We need to stop dragging our feet on creating jobs. This isn’t fair."
I’m a 24-year-old college graduate. I graduated in May and have been looking for a “real” job since. I have $40,000 in student loans. I’m currently working in retail and make $7.50 an hour. I am not eligible for any kind of raise at my job for another year. My mom, who is a retired high school teacher, has had to take up a part time job just to help me make my loan payments on time.
While I’m happy to have a job, and know that there are so many who are without employment, it kills me to know that I worked so hard to get through college for this and that my mom, who should be enjoying her retirement after 35 years of teaching, is having to work to help me.
Honestly, the only thing keeping me going is the hope that going to college and working a dead end job is going to be worth it… That someday I’m going to have my dream job and not have to worry about every penny I make and whether it’s going to pay the bills for the month. Most of the time, it’s pretty hard to stay positive.
I’m in my first semester of my first year of law school, but everyone I know is already telling me that I won’t have a job when I graduate. It’s frustrating and extremely disheartening to try to adjust to this major commitment I’ve made to my education with little or no hope of employment after I graduate with a law degree.
My mom works as much as she can, but she has a debilitating disease that sometimes requires months off at a time. My dad is a principal with continually cut hours from the budget cuts Walker has put in place on our once beautiful state, Wisconsin. We need his insurance for my mother’s $2000+ medication every month.
Both my parents work for the government and they are now both facing, at the least, serious cuts in pay and dramatically increased health care costs that we can’t afford.
And, yet, we are the lucky ones because at least they still have their jobs for now and they still have their insurance.
This is my mother’s life though. This is their life that they’ve spent years building. We can’t wait.
"I feel as if, after 18 years, I am a fairly decently trained marketing & communications manager. I should be earning plenty of money for my family to thrive on, but instead my skills are languishing and my unemployment is dwindling. I’ve talked to recruiters, employment agencies, and i network. I’m doing all of the right things, is what I’m saying, and I’ve been out of work since April. I’m the person you WANT at work. I put in more than my share of effort. I work hard. I care about the results of my efforts. And I still don’t have a job."
Why can’t you wait for Republicans in Congress to take action on jobs? Submit your story or blog it and tag it “we can’t wait.”
A nurse sent us a note yesterday that we’re excerpting here:
"When I graduated nursing school, I felt I had accomplished something big and knew I had a valuable gift to offer. I was thankful for the opportunity to have had an education after working hard as a nurse aide and LVN. I had dreams and an eagerness to work.
"Nursing is something that has always been more than work for me—it’s a calling.
"The only problem is, now that I’ve graduated, I’ve found there’s very little opportunity for the new graduate RN in this country and I am unable to live out this dream that I have worked very hard for. The media tells us there’s a nursing shortage and that nursing is one of the most in-demand jobs in the country right now. I am here to tell you this is not the case for those choosing to go into the field. While the nursing shortage is very much real and colleges are recruiting more into the profession, in many cases there is no opportunity once new graduates finish school.
"Hospitals have very limited training programs and many RN job postings say specifically, ‘No new grads to apply.’"
Just a quick note to say thanks for the warm welcome, the submissions, and the questions.
To answer a question that’s come up a lot: No, the President isn’t the one writing this Tumblr. He’s got a fair number of non-Tumblr things to do on any given day, we wager. We’re 2012 staffers working mostly out of Chicago.
In Las Vegas this afternoon, President Obama had a pretty simple message for Republicans in Congress: We can’t wait for action on jobs.
The President said:
"Without a doubt, the most urgent challenge that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs. I know it; the people of Nevada know it; and I think most Americans also understand that the problems we face didn’t happen overnight and so we’re not going to solve them all overnight either. What people don’t understand, though, is why some elected officials in Washington don’t seem to share the same sense of urgency that people all around the country [feel]."
Over the next few weeks, pieces of the President’s jobs plan will be going up for votes in Congress: bills to help veterans find jobs, get small businesses hiring more people, and otherwise take steps to create jobs right now.
As those votes happen, we’ve got to hammer congressional Republicans with why we we’re done waiting for them to prioritize the needs of millions of people over their apparent desire not to lift a finger to help improve the economy before the next election.
You can help get the message across by submitting something—a story, a photo, a video—about why you, your family, or your town needs things to change.
We’ll post some of your submissions here. If you write something on your own Tumblr, tag it “We can’t wait.”