Friday, January 11, 2008

Yes, The Empire Strikes Back

The following was written by my wonderfully talented friend Lance Mungia, Director of Six String Samurai (one of my favorite movies of all time). With two back to back posts on Barack Obama, one might easily think that I am a locked in vote for him. But, alas, truth be told...I am not. Yes, I admit it..I am an undecided. So, if anyone out there would like to write a blog supporting Hillary Clinton, I will be happy to post it. Oh, heck...Kate, if you want to write one supporting your case for Ron Paul I'll post that too! I'd even post one for Mike Huckabee and with a respectful nod to POW John McCain, I would post one for him too. You see, I LOVE this process called an election and I LOVE that I have friends so fired up about their candidates of choice and the 2008 election -- I celebrate that passion. Our country has been broken in spirit for a number of years and I believe we are feeling the rumble in the jungle approaching and it feels good (please feel free to imagine your best Muhammad Ali and James Brown voices)!

How blessed am I to have friends that write so beautifully.

~ Penny

Lance is a local team coordinator in the Los Angeles area for Barack Obama's campaign. Here is an email/blog he wrote the morning after the New Hampshire primary:

I'm tired and until a few hours ago I was starting to feel lazy. I was thinking about all the things I could start doing with my spare time again once we had the nod locked in New Hampshire. I figured that would seal us an early Barack Obama victory and it would be a short and sweet trip to the nomination from there. I was worrying and wondering if our efforts in California could turn out more frosting than cake and I was as surprised as I was grateful for that unexpected question in my head.

I was wrong.

No cake or frosting for us, folks. It's going to be person by person, bayonet to bayonet, even steven in the trenches. We've worked our butts off to have that opportunity and don't kid yourselves, its the most golden one we could ask for. We got lucky tonight instead of fat and lazy. Lucky.

I'll explain.

Only now, a few hours after losing New Hampsire by 2 points and probably still counting, I'm beginning to realize that this is the best possible scenario we could have wished for. Just like how Bush needs terror and how Rudy needs Hillary, uh... we need our own Darth Vader too. We need a villian for our art house indie flick to become a blockbuster with legs. Without Hillary Clinton, there's no third act to our script. There's no Death Star. There's no sequel.

Without a close race, we won't continue to build the public interest and hone our muscles for a general election. If Hillary bowed out now Barack would still seem untested in the Republican showdown. There'd be no drama or sweat equity invested in the many States left to weigh in. The American public as a whole wouldn't be as invested as they are tonight.

Maybe if he'd lost by ten points I'd say something different. But it was so close that all it did was keep eyes on us and keep it interesting. Get it?

He lost by a point and a half, maybe. He's going to win South Carolina and Nevada is going to be a razor's edge either way. It's wide open and ours to lose. If you're in the dumps wash the dirt out of your ears and eyes and look around.

Look at what a brilliant speaker Barack has evolved into and what a movement he's created. Why? It's because of the adversity he's faced, because of the passion adversity fosters and not the ease of his candicacy. Never ease. Ease = ease up.

No doubt its the same in all our lives. We're defined not by our victories, but how we handle our tribulations. Our trials make us who we are. Whole.

Yes, The Empire Strikes Back. Now we must use the force and Darth Vader Must bite the dust if we are ever to restore the old Republic to its former glory.

Let it all come what may and let it all matter. Let each State have an equal voice in deciding the next leader of the free world as should be their right. New Hampshire might have deprived a majority of the country of their say in electing the first black man to the office of President, the first true outsider, the first community organizer President. How unfair would that have been?

If Barack and through Barack we, all of us, cannot win anywhere the fight goes from here, then we don't deserve it because ultimately we NEED to win the general. The best person needs to win for the sake of this country. Thanks to Barack all is shaping up to be the most honest race to the White House in modern memory. There's a real choice to be had and we've provided it for the American public. We. The People.

Earlier tonight, as results came in, preparing for my weekly meeting to phonebank, I said a prayer for Barack. I'm not overly religious, but this was a big deal for me. Melissa, my wife, corrected my prayer. She said, "Instead of asking God to help Barack win, say, 'help the best person to win. That's all you can hope for."

She was right. To me, it was saying the same thing, but the phrasing was everything, because I know in my very soul that Barack IS the best person. I have nothing to fear and nothing to hide in that regard. Vet him until the cows come home to Bill Clinton's farm.

Bill Clinton was right today when he suggested that Barack Obama needs to be vetted. Let it be played out across the entire American field until they've had a belly full. Let the entire country engage meaningfully in this discussion. Instead of an afterthought as we usually are in California, we will now be in the thick of the storm and our thoughts will count. People will be invested as they never have before.

It's truly in our hands now whether you've realized it yet or not.

I say let the rain come. Let it wash away everything but the truth. Barack Obama is by far the best candidate to run for President in modern political history AND THAT'S THE TRUTH.

The more people are exposed to him the more they'll see what we already see. Bring on the pundits, the naysayers, the well wishers, the flip-floppers, the arm chair quarterbacks, the good weather friends as well as the foul. I welcome them feathers and all. I welcome the American public in every State to open their eyes and pay attention because if we're paying attention nobody can steal our Democracy from us. An engaged electorate is a protected one.

Mind me, we'll see Barack in the White House because of this loss tonight more than any win in New Hampshire could have assured. NH might have given him the nod but not a free pass to the oval office and a get out of jail free card. If anything it would have constricted him.

Expose Barack Obama to the harshest, strongest light imaginable and it will make him even more of a beacon, every hard night like this will make for a good one to follow and will make him and his case and us stronger.

Hone your political muscles against Darth Vader now because you'll need them in the general to fight with and trust me that's where we'll be. This is just a sparring session folks. It's just the beginning, and the more we can get people to pay attention to a close, dramatic race, the better we'll all be for the future of this country.

Never think that what we're doing doesn't matter, because it matters more than anything else we could possibly be doing. It's the most important thing we could be doing in fact. The result is secondary to the act of participating. We're changing the world as much as our own lives simply by thinking and being the change we want to see.

Believe it. Our enemies tremble at the thunder of our approach. They are not enemies we must fight from without. No, those are not our true enemies. Our real enemy is hesitation, fear, and a small mind.

The most tragic thing tonight would have been a slip back into apathy and laziness or worse, a slip into hopelessness and negativity and the fear that is the dark side.

Anybody who's weary, who's fed up, who wants to give up, well, you're human, but you're also still here paying attention. You didn't give up. You hurt and the hurt makes you mad and then you use it. Anger can blind you but it can also make you see clear.

Your reaction defines you. Giving up is not an option.

That didn't happen. Not to him. Not to us.

I am more motivated. I am more fired up. I will not lie down and go quietly into the dark. I will stand up and I say let the rain come. Let the Death Star approach. Let the thunder roar and the clouds weep, because you can't wash away or drown out the truth, you can only make it clean.

Good morning.

Lance Mungia

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