On the eve of the second most important election of my lifetime, I feel an eerie calm. Kind of like that feeling that comes over a city right before a hurricane hits. Ironic since the East Coast just suffered the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Devastation that many believe should postpone this election for at least a week, making sure that those hardest hit have an opportunity to make it to the polls to vote. As if there hasn’t been enough going on with voter supression across the country this election season, now people have to choose whether to focus on recovery or to go wait in line at a precinct that may not even be operational to cast their ballot.
Back to the air of calm. Aaaaaah. In 2006, I flew to Chicago to support my brother Barton Taylor at a DNC fundraiser for Senator Hillary Clinton and while there met a man named Barack Obama. When people ask me “When did you fall in love with Barack?”, that is my answer. That cold and windy Chicago night at a hotel by the river. When he walked around the room with a humility that escapes many in politics supporting his colleague Hillary. And on that night I looked at Bart and said, “That brother is BAD.” We knew then that there was something coming. Something big. Something epic. And then it did. Oh did I not mention, I’m an Obama supporter? If you would like to stop reading now, so be it. If not lets go FORWARD. In 2008, I started as a baby fundraiser and co-founder of Young Lawyers for Obama. I was fired up and ready to go, to see if America was ready to elect our first Black President. The night before the election, I sat in a room with some of the brightest lawyers in the city, as we prepared our strategy and deployment plan for voter protection the next day. Working for Obama for America was like a badge of honor and I wore it with pride. And as my heart raced from the opening to the closing of the polls in Georgia, I sat in my chair in the boiler room jumping everytime the telephone rang and I was the person charged with making sure the voter on the line was not disenfranchised, got to the proper polling place, and by any means necesssary cast a ballot, even if it was provisional. It was envigorating. It was orgasmic. It was progress. And we won. Cathy Hampton, the new City Attorney for Atlanta, and I were the last two people in the office that night. By the time the phones stopped ringing, polls had been closed on the east coast for hours. We stayed until every single voter was assured that their vote would be counted. And by the time I made it to my car, Barack Obama was well on his way to becoming our 44th President of the United States. By the time I made it home, 12 minutes later, to get dressed for the big election night party, they had called Virginia and Ohio and it was all but over. The tears that streamed down my face were tears of anxiety, relief, struggle, and progession. Tears of joy. I knew that thanks to the strength of Americans who put their trust and faith in this man, that the tide of America was beginning to turn.
So here we are, four years later, on the eve of Election Day 2012. Family, friends, and colleagues who I love have stumped, stuffed envelopes, knocked on doors, waved signs, and given all their pennies towards the re-election effort for President Obama. I’ve shaken his hand, hugged his neck, prayed for him (and for our country), raised money, spent money and given money. And today, I have a peace that passes all understanding. Now don’t get me wrong. I am still and will forever be “Fired Up and Ready to Go” (thanks Mr. Shinhoster for giving us that and letting us borrow it). I have my shirt ironed and ready for tomorrow to go drive folks to the polls, wave signs, or represent voters who are disenfrancished. But I feel like we have fought the good fight and will be victorious.
As calm as I am, a soft song begins to stir in my mind “Everything is gonna be alright, he’s coming back, like he said he would.” Now I know that Al Green was talking about Jesus, and not President Barack Obama. And I am by no means comparing President Obama to Jesus Christ (for those of you who are sure to go there). But hey, if the song fits, sing it. Tomorrow will be a test of many things. Patience. Wills. Persistence. Determination. Don’t fail the test. There will be long lines, bad attitudes, short-tempered poll workers, slow drivers license checkers, idiotic citizens, no parking, far away parking, rain, cold temperatures, voter suppressors, voter manipulators, and voter protectors. Don’t fail the test. There will be smiles and frowns, cheers and jeers, tears and shouts, praise dances and high-fives. There will be a myriad of emotions . Everything is gonna be alright, he’s coming back, like he said he would.