Unlike Sarah, who until this election was pretty much a member of the Green Party, I am a Republican. As a result I have a unique insight into Sarah’s last campaign which I want to share with you in concluding this goodbye to my sweet child.
Of course she would be attracted to a leader who had written a book called the Audacity of Hope, and whose slogan was “yes we can;” a leader who reflected in his own biography the multicultural, multiracial mixing that was her own family; and in which she placed hopes for the future of her country and perhaps even the world. And of course she would want to support a man whose message was the coming together of all Americans across racial, political and class lines. And of course her father would be skeptical.
But through our head-butting, and through our contentiousness and because of the patience and persistence with which she maintained her point of view, and as a result of the realism that underpinned it, when she told me she was going to Iowa to campaign for Barack Obama, even though we continued to disagree about politics, I was whole-heartedly behind her.
And because she was Sarah there was no way she was going to ask for help to do what she had determined to do. So she took her meager resources and bought herself a plane ticket. She ignored the hearing problems which made even conversations with family and friends sometimes difficult, and made arrangements over the phone to get herself transported thousands of miles away; arrangements to stay in a state where she knew no one; to find Jews to pray with when the Sabbath came; and to receive her instructions and orders for the campaign. She trudged through airports on her aching, malfunctioning hip; she gritted her teeth and endured the pains of a gastro-intestinal tract ravaged by illness, and she put pressure yet again on a cardio-vascular system damaged and inadequate from birth, and on a body whose wounded state would take her so cruelly from us only two months later.
Undaunted by every discomfort and challenge, she marched into two degree weather, in the depths of a heartland winter, to knock on doors and bring out Americans she had never met to join in her campaign of hope, of yes we can. And you can bet that when she called me from Iowa to relate her progress there was a smile in her voice and not a hint of complaint about the weather or anything else.
And when the results were in and a black man had won a presidential primary in a white state and gathered the momentum to become the first black American to have the prospect of being a presidential nominee and perhaps even a president, she relished his triumph and along with it the fact that it was the first political campaign she had ever participated in – and there were many – in which her cause had won.
And in that moment, I was able to share her triumph, to walk across the bridge that we had built together through the decades of contentiousness and debate. “You can be very proud of what you have done Sarah,” I said to her when it was over. “Even if they steal the nomination from Obama; even if he wins the nomination and loses the presidency; even if he wins the presidency and fails to deliver on his promises and disappoints you, it doesn’t matter. It is already done. America has already been changed forever by this Iowa campaign. And this could not have happened without you and others like you. And what I did not say to her because she would not have wanted me to draw attention to it and would not have wanted to hear it, was that of all the people who came to Iowa to campaign for Barack Obama, none had done so having to overcome more obstacles to get there or carry it through than Sarah.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
I used to work for David Horowitz, but never saw this side of him: