Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Barack Obama moved by his grandmoter's passing
Photo credit: Reuters

The day before Barack Obama became President-elect of the United States of America, the woman who helped raise him to a huge degree, his mother's mother, Madelyn Dunham died in her sleep. The decision has been made to allow her absentee ballot count. As it should. Anyone who cast a vote then died, should have their vote count.

Obama Realizes the Dream of Generations ~ From Sydney, Australia:

...But his victory today will remain bittersweet for Obama, after the woman who raised him to believe he would be whatever he wanted to be passed away just hours before his crowning moment.

His white maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, whom he called "Toot" lost her battle with cancer in her home on Hawaii, never living to see Obama realise the aspirations of generations.

In a rare show of emotion, from a man who has been seen as cool and collected throughout the gruelling 21-month campaign, tears streamed down Obama's face yesterday at a North Carolina rally.

His voice thick with grief, Obama said this was a "bitter-sweet time for me. She is going home".

Obama recapped his grandmother's life from her birth in 1922 and her marriage to his grandfather, their struggles through the Great Depression and with his infant mother through World War II.

"She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America," said Obama.

"They're not famous. Their names aren't in the newspapers," he said, vowing to fight for all the country's quiet heroes...

November 5 will be a national holiday in Kenya.

Barack Obama was derided by Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani for being a community organzier. But seriously, his skills as a community organizer ran the best campaign I will go out on a limb to say was the best this country has ever experienced. I saw it first hand as a citizen volunteer.

Sen. Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive with their daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, to cast their ballots at Shoesmith Elementary School in Chicago. People started lining up at the school at 5 a.m. and the line snaked around the corner by the time polls opened this morning. Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan was ushered in first for security reasons. Spirits were high among people in line, who seemed prepared for a long wait. (Tribune photo by Zbigniew Bzdak / November 4, 2008)

Sen. Barack Obama and Michelle Obama cast their ballots Tuesday at Shoesmith Elementary School in Chicago. More than 100 people were in line by 6 a.m. at the school where Obama cast his ballot--presumably for himself. (Tribune photo by Zbigniew Bzdak / November 4, 2008)

There are 124 photos of Barack from his being a baby to now at Barack Obama's ascendance Photos

A man monitors the Presidential elections results on television at the ancestral home of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama in Nyangoma Kogelo village, 430km west of Kenya's capital Nairobi, November 5, 2008.(Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

My message to all who helped make this happen:

This is a new beginning

Dear Volunteers,

I want to thank you for what you have done to help make this effort one of We THE People.

When I went to New Hampshire to volunteer a week prior to the NH primary ~ I immediately noticed the young people who were the backbone of the Get Out The Vote effort for Barack, our President-elect. To the young generation who made the clock tick and led us well, I want to say to you how very grateful I am to you. How very proud I am to have worked with you and for you. You led the way. Out of Many We Are One as Barack Obama has repeatedly said.

I also noticed how diverse we are - those who came together to work toward this campaign's goal. Diverse in age, diverse in where we come from (I worked with those from Australia, Rwanda and Europe, as well as the USA), diverse in our ethnicities...

At 59 years old I, for the first time, got involved in a campaign. But it is the energy, dedication, determination and skills of the young people, whom I feel I owe a great debt of gratitude and humility to.

Thank you - without you we couldn't have lifted Barack Obama up and gotten to this path to journey together.

Let's not stop now. Let's stay an active part of our democracy.

The following text is from the www.barackobama.com

We're still awaiting the final results tonight, but one thing is clear -- this grassroots movement can never be underestimated. Thank you to everyone who helped us make an astounding 1,053,791 calls today! I know it wasn't easy and many of you kept calling long after you were tired and your voice had grown hoarse, but your calls to get our supporters out the polls helped tip the scales in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

We've shut down our calling campaigns for the night, incredibly proud of the record amount of calls made today. You gave it your all and we couldn't have asked for more.

Thank you again for everything you've done. You've been with Barack Obama every step of this journey. This is your night.

This is what Barack wrote when the news of his win was solid:

Sandra --

I'm about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.

We just made history.

And I don't want you to forget how we did it.

You made history every single day during this campaign -- every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it's time for change.

I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.

We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next.

But I want to be very clear about one thing...

All of this happened because of you.

Thank you,



Barack Obama's speech as President-elect
November 4, 2008 Chicago's Grant Park

Senator Barack Obama's neighbors watched him arrive at the South Side Chicago school this morning to vote - Video

Organize with what you have. The internet is a great tool. And Barack Obama utilized it like never before for a Presidential campaign. Here is an article originally from Belgium which takes up this point.

European lessons from the web-election of Obama 08

Source: euobserver.com


November 4, 2008

EUOBSERVER / ANALYSIS - The American presidential election today will go down in history as the first where the internet was used for all it is worth. As many as 20 million Americans have voted even before ballot boxes open on Tuesday (4 November), and voter turnout is expected to end up higher than in decades.

Of course, many African-Americans are extraordinarily motivated to vote by the possibility of having a black man elected president of the world's most powerful nation.

"I never thought I would live to see something like this happening," one elderly black woman told me when I was walking the streets of Laconia in New Hampshire last week with students who were canvassing for Mr Obama.

In some areas, voters have had to wait up to nine hours to cast their ballot, with many being brought into the political process for the first time. Many people in the US are on a mission today.

How did it happen, how did Mr Obama succeed in activating people to such an extent? What could the European Union, fighting to win the attention of its own citizens in upcoming European elections learn from their American cousins?

One reason for the American electoral success is the very clever use of new media and computer technology to support the election process. The websites of the presidential candidates have become the key hub for the release of all major news in the campaigns.

Information was no longer being announced via press conferences and then broadcasted by the media, but directly released to the public via the websites: www.barackobama.com and www.johnmccain.com

Using the internet

In particular the Obama campaign has succeeded in using the internet to organise supporters and to reach voters who no longer rely primarily on information from traditional newspapers and television.

The tools ranged from online video service YouTube, which did not exist in the last election in 2004, blogs, and even SMS messages reminding people to vote or offering them a lift if needed.

A central database was built with information on most households in the US, including information about the number of people in each family, age, sex and willingness to support the campaign of Obama.

Most of this info was gathered by volunteers walking from house to house, knocking on peoples doors while armed with a canvass tally sheet.

"Hi, is Mr Sullivan available? My name is Liz Shaheen and I'm a volunteer talking to voters about Barack Obama. How are you today?"

Back in the campaign office, results from every single house-hold visited was typed carefully into the central database: The man in Pleasant Street is a solid McCain supporter but his wife leaning towards Obama.

"This is her mobile phone number? Would she like a yard sign for her garden? Would she want to be contacted again? Would she want to make a donation?"

If nobody was found at home, that would be noted down too – and the house visited again some other day. The canvassing teams were carefully instructed to act appropriately and respectfully. Identifying a clear-cut McCain voter would be just as important as meeting an Obama supporter, but the sales pitch would change.

Back in the campaign office, the canvassing students would check the latest news on the elections: visiting websites such as Huffington Post, a news service build entirely on user-generated content, and poll analysis blog Five Thirty Eight.

Five Thirty Eight, named after the number of votes in the electoral college that formally elects the American president, was established by a baseball statistician who has instead of gathering baseball statistics, been systematically collating and analysing polls ahead of the elections.

The site also includes good tips on betting in relation to the elections.

European elections

Struggling to gain the attention of its citizens, the European Parliament is at great risk of seeing another turnout below 40 percent in the upcoming 2009 elections.

What could Europe learn from the 2008 American elections? First of all, the detailed registration of people's political opinions would not be legal under European data law.

Additionally, the motivation for millions of Americans is the hope of change, something the European Parliament cannot deliver, no matter how many Europeans go and vote.

The European Parliament is not in charge of presenting laws, only capable of influencing them. And Europeans are not asked to deliver an opinion on the election of their president of the European Commission. Real passion about European affairs has only been seen in the three referendums on the Constitution and Lisbon Treaty, but as they resulted in No votes, they have hardly been taken note of as models for participation.

It will take more than an Obama 08 campaign to make European elections into a real act of democratic decision-making - something that European citizens could actually get passionate about.

Many journalists write about the President-elect Obama at Watching America.com ~ News

Obama Fulfills the Dream ~ from Great Britain

The Serenity of Obama ~ from Germany


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