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This isn't where I thought I was going to be when I looked forward into my life, but here I am....

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A Thoughtful Return to Elko

No, I'm not going back there, even if that geologist is incredibly cute. Chris Sacca, Technologist/Mountain Biker/Great Guy, put some eloquent words down about his experiences in the campaign. He talks a bit about Elko and describes what the experience was like very well. I thought I had gotten all of the tears out, but I was wrong.

Some Thoughts On What The Obama Election Meant To Me.

As a white man from Middle America, we grow up with a very academic introduction to issues of race. We see the prescribed Oscar-nominated dramas preaching color blindness. We seek out the black kid in our school and feel exonerated when he greets us with a demonstrably soulful handshake. We are convinced that the poignant lyrics from activist hip-hop resonate with us and we grow unwaveringly confident that we understand the struggle. Yet, the privilege of our skin color does not prepare us to ever be the object of hate.

Chris had a horrible experience in Winnemucca and it didn't get much better in Elko. Every person who came through Elko hit this same wall of hatred. Some people couldn't handle it and went home and I do not harbor any ill will towards them. I considered doing the same thing myself.

In just a short time, Elko was taking its toll on me. At night, in my hotel, I would find myself so angry. The uncomfortably loud Fox News they played in the breakfast room never helped. Only intermittently would I visibly hint at the outrage provoked by the theater of security and patriotism that was destroying my country, a place in which my pride has only ever been strengthened by my time abroad.

I decided to leave. I needed a break. I was eating like crap and acutely depressed. I punched my wall on one night. I didn't recognize myself. I had worked incredibly nasty jobs growing up, and am quite comfortable in what we white collar folks consider to be the stresses of our coddled employment. However, nothing had prepared me for the daily personal assault from the mouths of these vitriolic people.

Chris spent some time in the beautiful mountains in NV, riding the rocks and being washed clean in the pouring rain. His strength returned and he resolved to return to Elko instead of meeting his friends in Vegas to party on Election night. He was an incredible worker, tireless and skilled. When you read his blog entry, you can already tell he has a way with words. Whether he was making phone calls or knocking on doors, he was a wizard. Like many of us, he worked from before the sun rose until after the sun set on Election Day. He was out knocking on a few final doors to make sure everyone had voted....

With 30 minutes left to vote, I approached the porch of what my tattered list told me was a 91 year old female Democrat. Was she able to get herself to the ballot box that day? I rapped on the door and she answered leaving the flimsy aluminum and wire screen between us. "Hi, I'm Chris from the Obama campaign and I just wanted to make sure you had a chance to vote."

She didn't utter a word. Instead, she inched toward the handle, pushing it loose and motioning for me to perform the rest of the opening. As I stepped onto her weathered rug preparing to make my pitch, she reached her frail arms around me and hugged. Silently.

I lost it. I didn't just let a tear or two slip. I audibly let out 8 years of embarrassment and helplessness. She quickly hoped to comfort me by leading me inside where her family was gathered watching the returns and smiling with the anticipation of an Obama victory. She offered me soup.

Please read the whole entry, because it is worth it, but I'll leave you with one last excerpt:

Revolution still flows through our blood and is baked into our firing nerves. Yet, we had become a nation of rationalizing, complacent, discouraged victims. Along comes a black man with a most politically inopportune name and he stirs within us the pride, courage, and defiance that we had conceded to the reaches of our past esteem.

It will undoubtedly be a relay race until that final moment, and Barack Obama stirred each of us to seize back the baton. With this opportunity, each of us inherits a responsibility. To act. To listen. To empathize and care.

President Obama is not a panacea. However, he is the catalyst for our seemingly final attempt at redemption. Our collective prosperity will not be awarded by some roll of dice or drawn numbers. It must be earned. Sweat, humility, and diligence will produce our grace and will convince the fates to return to us our shared destiny.

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