Working for Change

by aengelson | September 6th, 2012

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I thought I’d dust off the blog again and talk a little bit about the election in the US.

Please take a moment to support the campaign.

Back in 2007, while I was on a climbing trip on Mount Rainier, my friend and I were discussing the campaign and he asked me who I supported. I said Barack Obama, but I doubted whether he could win the election. As the campaign progressed, I realized that this was the first candidate I’d ever felt so strongly about–and if I wanted him to win, it was up to me to do what I could to help. Since Washington state was likely to support Obama, I traveled to Philadelphia during the primaries, and to Ohio in the general election.

You can read an account of my trip to Ohio here. I really urge you to read it. It was a life-changing experience. I enjoyed the chance to go door-to-door, talking to everyday people about the issues. I worked with an incredible group of volunteers from across the country. And I got to see first-hand some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by a struggling economy.

Now, four years later, the situation is far from perfect, but the course has been steady and I think the choice is clear. We can go back to the days of George W. Bush, or we can move forward with a moderate policy that balances giving a helping hand up to those struggling while also helping businesses innovate and grow. Some Democrats have been disappointed in the last four years. But I think  Obama’s approach is patient one, with a  long term vision. We now have moderate health care plan that covers everyone, guarantees that getting sick won’t make you bankrupt, and allows private insurance companies to provide that coverage. Obama’s decisions helped avert another Great Depression, helped rescue the US auto industry, ended the war in Iraq, ended the ban on gays in the military, kept Americans safe from terrorist attacks, and helped make it easier to get student loans.

There’s a lot more to be done, and sure, there have been disappointments. But I’m proud to have worked for Obama’s campaign in 2008 and will work to support it in 2012. Now that I live here in Hanoi, I can’t exactly canvas door-to-tor,  so I want to ask those friends back in the US to help me out. Getting involved in a campaign gives you a sense of ownership, of participation. The night of the election in 2008, when the state of Ohio lit up blue on the map–I felt a deep satisfaction knowing I’d been a little part of that victory. So, here’s what I’d like to ask:

If you’re a US citizen, take a moment and donate to the Obama campaign. Big corporate donors are flooding money into the Republican campaign this year, hoping that TV ads will trump door-to-door politics.

If you’re a US citizen living in Vietnam, check out Democrats Abroad for info on voting overseas or participating in the campaign.

And volunteer. You can phone bank (even from home) and help turn out the vote. You can register voters. Or you can go door-to-door, which I highly recommend. This is especially crucial for those of you who live in closely contested places like Ohio or Pennsylvania or Florida. If you live in Washington state, consider traveling to a place like Ohio to volunteer. You won’t regret it.

Thanks for your time,

Andy

2 Responses to “Working for Change”

  1. Hi Andy, Joe and I are pounding the streets for Obama. Two different neighborhoods so far. I don’t know whether you can feel the anxiety that is occurring in this country but it’s intense, worrisome and downright scary. The obscene amounts of $$ being spent is very disturbing to many of us. Love you and miss you, Sally

  2. Hey Sally,
    Good for you guys! I hope it’s a positive experience for you. I found it fascinating meeting people, talking to them, hearing their concerns. Colorado’s going to be a close one, so everyone you talk to helps! Thank you.
    Andy

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About This Site

Andy Engelson is a writer and editor who lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. He's currently working on a historical novel set in the Northwest United States during World War II. He's also a freelance writer, essayist and member of the Hanoi Writer's Collective. In a former life, he edited Washington Trails magazine for six years and before that was freelance journalist. He likes to hike, travel, and play with his family.

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Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. . . . Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like. — Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library”

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