Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Official!

Hello all friends and supporters!

It's official- I am packing up my bags (the ones I have barely unpacked from the summer) and am heading to North Carolina for five weeks to campaign for Obama in my home-swingstate! I'll be living at home, traveling to cities across North Carolina, encouraging people to register, to vote, and to vote for Obama! I'll be knocking on doors, calling people, organizing events, and coming up with other fun ways to support Obama-Biden!

Stay tuned from the campaign trail!

Obama at the Western Wall

The second moment occurred one night when I heard that Barack Obama was going to be visiting the Western Wall. It was an historic moment that I could not miss. Luckily, my friends were staying at a hostel in the Old City, and since I had never spent a night in the Old City, I decided to camp out on the rooftop of their hostel.

As I lay awake on a mattress, I could hear the Muslim call to prayer. Earlier I had heard church bells, and soon I would be standing with women who prayed at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. In that moment, under a gorgeous orange moon that reflected on the stones of the city, creating a light unlike any other I've seen, I felt at peace.

Jerusalem was quiet and asleep. At that moment I wasn't thinking about the terror attack that happened a few days ago, or the bodies of two soldiers who were finally returned to their families after two years of not even knowing if they were alive or not. Nor was I thinking about the fact that it’s actually more dangerous to drive in this country than anything else, as 46 people were killed in car accidents last month alone. At that moment on the rooftop, all I could think about was how beautiful this city is - so full of energy of thousands of years, of millions of people. At that moment Jersualem - literally "the city of peace" - lived up to its name.

Oh yeah, and seeing Obama at the wall was awesome - the orthodox women who camp out there every night were at first peeved that we were interrupting their prayers, and then when he finally stood before the wall, they all crowded around to see. One of them commented that "the Messiah should only get such a welcoming!"

Crashing the DNC!

Hi from the Mile High City, where I have been “crashing” the DNC with my younger brother Yoav for the past couple of days! You may have read his blog about the first three days we were here- starting from the moment we were dropped off at the airport and had no idea where we would spend the night that night…

I figured I’d give my own perspective. First, I didn’t realize the DNC was going to be such a party! Seriously, I think I spent less than $40 in five days because there have been too many events/receptions/parties to attend! We went to the free bowling party of the Religious Pro-Choice group, we karaoked on the streets, we schmoozed with our fellow NC delegates, the next Senator, and the Secretary of State. In many ways, it felt like a fun game to see what sort of parties we could get into. For example, I crashed an invite-only Creative Coalition party- a group of people in the TV and film industries who are politically active—Tim Daly hosted the show and the keynote speaker was J.P. from Paul Mitchel, whom I later introduced myself and talked about “Whatint Abafazi” (he looked at me in the eyes and said, “how can I make your life better?” I said, straight up, well I need money to produce this film. And he gave me the number to his personal assistant to contact him when he’s in LA!) In any case, we basically party surfed from one event to the other. The winners for best cocktail: NC Delegate with their banana martinis. The winner for the best food: Raw tuna with mango salsa on chips won me over at the Trick or Vote party for young people. The winner for best “protestors” – the Food Not Bombs crowd who gave out free, vegetarian meals and had a “green safe zone.”

Speaking of protestors, this leads me to a second observation: they were not kidding around with Security. It was intense, and I am not sure how I felt about it- one the one hand, I felt safe… on the other hand, I don’t have positive associations with soldiers marching through a small town. I’m going to upload some video of them marching. To their credit, the police were friendly and let us take pictures with them. It also made me remember the beauty of our country, where we can gather, demonstrate, and protest freely. May we always uphold these freedoms! Inshallah!

I was also impressed with the DNC’s commitment to Greening- they recycled and had compost bins! There was also a bike-sharing program where you could borrow a bike for free during the convention- what a beautiful idea!

Finally, and the whole reason why I was at the DNC, was Barack Obama’s historic acceptance speech at Invesco Field. I bought my return flight back to LA for Friday, even though I didn’t have tickets for the event, but hoping that I would be able to find a way in. And I did! (let this also be a lesson in the power of faith- when I put out what I hope to happen, and have faith and determination and some creativity, it often will work out). Thanks to my friends and NC Delegate Paul and May Gayle Meingert, I scored a ticket! We got there four hours early and found ourselves in a line more than a mile long! We couldn’t even find the end of the line and were nervous we wouldn’t even get in- luckily, we found a shorter line and within a half-hour we walked into the stadium where Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder were performing.

It was an evening that I will never forget, as it felt like I was watching history being made. The stadium was packed with more than 80,000 supporters of all backgrounds, colors, and faiths. What we had in common is our belief that our country has had enough of the past 8 years – that we need change in our country in all aspects, from foreign policy to health care at home. Obama’s speech outlined his plan on various issues, and each just made sense. It was as if, finally, a politician understood the needs of the people who have been hurt by the past 8 years of corruption, lies, fiscal irresponsibility, war, and tax breaks for the rich and for corporations. We need change- we need Obama and Biden! And this speech, where you could almost not hear what Obama was saying because people were cheering so loudly, only enhanced my support for Barack. Together, we can put this country back on track; together, we can improve our place in the world; together, we can make history and help our beautiful country- and all her people- reach their full potential. Yes we can!!