Thursday 1 May 2008

Why I'm voting for Obama in Indiana's Democratic Party Primary Election

Below are the fine remarks my good friend (and fellow church member at Faith Mennonite) Dan Shenk offered at the ribbon cutting ceremony during the grand opening, April 4, of the Elkhart County Obama campaign headquarters in downtown Goshen. Dan is president of the local organization. These remarks capture my own political position and sentiments quite well.

Dan and I also had a brief exchange today regarding yesterday's commentaries on Obama's response to Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright's new embarrassing blustering.

Dan had this to say: "Barack has now severed ties with Wright, more in sorrow than anger. I hope Hoosiers get the message in time."


(Remarks at Elkhart County's Obama Campaign Headquarters Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: April 4, 2008 -- Dan Shenk)

Forty years ago today they tried to kill the dream in Memphis. With the candidacy of Barack Obama, the dream is alive again.

The crowd we have here is evidence of that. The crowd of 110 we had Monday evening at the Goshen library is evidence of that. The way Goshen and Elkhart are working together is evidence of that. The volunteers who have been working all week to set up this office are evidence of that.

Barack Obama brings people together. He has been doing it throughout his adult life -- bringing Republican conservatives onto the board of the Harvard Law Review, of which he was president. Bringing black and brown and white together on the streets of South Chicago as a community organizer. Working across the aisle in the Illinois Legislature and the U.S. Senate to pass legislation.

A Texas Republican who has worked as an aide to George W. Bush said, "Barack Obama is a walking, talking hope machine. People see him as a reflection of what is good and great about America. He's like a mirror of what people think we ought to be. He is successful, talented, respectful, moderate, judicious, thoughtful and deeply human. I think people see him as a human bridge that can unite the country," adding that Obama could become "healer-in-chief."

Senator Obama not only has a track record of reconciling partisan divisions in this country, his candidacy is also healing racial, cultural, class and religious divisions. And I see him as the best hope for getting the United States out of Iraq and restored to the family of nations.

Barack has said many times that his campaign isn't so much about him as it is a movement of people from the grassroots, from the bottom up, not the top down. He once said, "I'm a Democrat because we are the party that believes we are all in this together." Emphasis on we. Here in Goshen for Obama, we indeed have a number of Democrats, but this movement also has many independents (like me) and, yes, Republicans -- also known as Obamicans.

Here in Goshen we celebrate the opening of this facility. We want to thank Eric Kanagy, CEO of RedPost Inc. for making the space available. And I'm deeply grateful to all the dozens and dozens of volunteers who are working on many fronts in Elkhart County to help Barack Obama become the next president of the United States.

Indiana is relevant. Barack needs us. Now let's keep registering voters right on through Monday afternoon!

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