See Hannah's original post here.
When President Obama won the 2008 election, Seattle took to the streets. And I also joined the throngs of thousands of people who celebrated downtown and up on Capitol Hill. I remember feeling encouraged and excited to be a part of the community of Americans who had joined together to make the victory possible. I felt the energy and motivation of a newly called missionary - all I needed was the rallying call of the President to tell me what needed to be done, and I would be there. All of us Obama supporters seemed to be of the same mind; tell us what needs to be done - lead us into battle - and we will heed the call. However, clear direction never came. The recession hit like a hurricane, and President Obama became entangled in a health care battle with congress that left many of us wondering what our part in this fight might be.
This election, President Obama has the opportunity to continue to engage with his supporters and the electorate in ways that go beyond 2008. Obama for America is still sending emails - of course not in the volume we saw during the campaign when a request for donations hit the inbox several times a day. But this new campaign allows each of us to stay involved with the President's agenda during this lame duck session and also during his second term. We Mormons for Obama may see life as going "back to normal" after the frenzied election season. Conversations may shift away from the hope and change possible during this second term, and like 2008, we may be unsure of how we can continue to support President Obama. I am not sure I have all of the answers, but I do know that we can stay involved by responding to the President's requests for support (whether that is writing to congressional leaders or sharing our support for President Obama's policies on Facebook or on our blogs.)
Here are two articles from that discuss the ongoing effort by Obama for America to promote the President's positions on the upcoming fiscal cliff. The first if from TheHill.com; the second is from NPR.org
This is an excerpt from an email circulating from the Obama campaign this past week:
More than 1 million supporters took our survey last week, sharing feedback on their 2012 campaign experience and how they'd like to see us move forward. While we're still sorting through all of the responses, I wanted to share some initial results:
-- An overwhelming majority of survey respondents reported feeling welcomed and included, that their time was used effectively, and that there was a clear understanding of how their work directly helped re-elect President Obama.
-- Among those of you who volunteered at least a few hours, a majority went into a field office, though many of you got involved instead through the campaign's online tools such as Dashboard and the call tool.
-- About 1 in 10 survey respondents are interested in running for office at some point, using their organizing skills to continue fighting for real and lasting change. That level of political engagement is inspiring.
-- Almost half of all survey respondents forwarded campaign emails, and more than one-third communicated with friends on Facebook -- both great ways to pass along information about the President's positions and plans, as well as opportunities to get involved.
-- Nearly 80 percent of survey takers want to keep volunteering, primarily around the President's legislative agenda.
Also included was this quotation from a supporter in Texas: "Don't let the energy of the re-election slip through your fingers. This is a very powerful network of people." And this expresses how I felt in 2008 and how I feel now. Check out barackobama.com to learn about the issues and tasks at hand and the ways that we can be involved. I am hopeful that we Mormons can stay engaged in the change we hope to see in our country, whether on a national or local level. Let's continue to follow the words recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants to stay anxiously engaged in a good cause; let's continue to move forward.
Post by Joseph M -
Thanksgiving is surely a great time for reflection. Rob's post, Michael Otterson's guest article in the Washington Post, and this recent post by Joanna Brooks have all caused me to think on this past election season and the part that we Mormons for Obama played in it. I am thankful for the community of saints who have come together here and the amazing amount of good that we have accomplished. Not only have we demonstrated our support for President Obama, but we also have shown the world that Mormons are a diverse group of individuals with varied political ideas and persuasions. (And I fully acknowledge that this post is starting off a tad bit self-congratulatory.)
I have especially enjoyed hearing the many stories that folks have shared about their Mormons for Obama t-shirts and bumper stickers. Kelly ended up in an Italian online news journal with her shirt. And another example: Butch in Pennsylvania emailed me describing reactions that he has received from people. He takes his sister shopping and sometimes will wait in the car, and he has enjoyed watching the positive reaction of the passersby. (This kind of sounds like missionary work.)
He writes, "I have to laugh at stop lights here - seeing people take pictures and some honking their horns." Of course not everyone was happy with his bumper sticker: "one lady pulled up next to me and shook her finger at me, scolding me!" But Butch isn't alone in seeing some negative reactions - as we see in this post by Joanna Brooks - but much of the reaction has been positive. And even when it wasn't, we found it humorous all the same.
In fact, many people found this website and Facebook group because of the bumper stickers on your cars or the t-shirt that you casually wore to the grocery store. One woman emailed that she was tailed down the street, and when she finally exited her car, her follower asked, "where did you get that bumper sticker? I need one!"
Read this wonderful post by Jana Reiss about her thoughts on the bumper sticker and how the conjunction "and" is not enough.
Admittedly, we Mormons for Obama have a lot to be thankful for this season. Also, we were pleased to discover that Mormons actually voted for Obama in higher numbers than those who voted Democrat in 2004 when Bush was reelected. (Or said another way, GW Bush received more Mormon votes than did Romney.) See this article from Business Insider, and thank you to Dave in Seattle for emailing this to us.
I am grateful for a lot this Thanksgiving season. And I am especially grateful to all of the Mormons for Obama out there who stood up for the President (and sometimes made difficult sacrifices) in the midst of a contentious election season that sometimes came closer to home than we would have hoped or anticipated. Please share your stories with us! We would love to hear about your experiences with your t-shirts and bumper stickers! (And Happy Thanksgiving!)
Rev. Derrick Harkins, National Director of Faith Outreach for the DNC
It's hard to believe that the election ended less than two weeks ago. I didn't post much the last few weeks of the campaign because I was knocking doors in Florida, and there's one thing I must say:
THANK YOU to Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee for keeping Governor Romney's Mormonism and mine off the table this campaign! I never doubted President Obama's or Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz's commitment to steer clear of religious attacks, but presidential campaigns are gigantic operations. For Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee to keep the message that tight required serious dedication on the part of staffers and surrogates to resist the urge to "go there."
In the most high-profile anti-Mormon maneuver by a surrogate of which I am aware, she quickly announced her regret for her remarks. I recognize this effort didn't prevent Bill Maher, Andrew Sullivan, and other pundits from attacking the Church, and that we read some news stories that were uncomfortable-but-accurate, but I think these things further underscore the tremendous amount of work the campaign did to keep Mormonism a non-issue in its own operations. Throughout the campaign, Latter-day Saints on the other side of the political aisle would ask me, "What are you going to do when they attack Mormonism in late October?" I told them, "Not going to happen." Thank you again, OFA and DNC, for proving me right and for running a great campaign.
Too often we fail to recognize what goes right in politics. If you (Latter-day Saint or otherwise), want to express your thanks to Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee for keeping Mormonism out of it, I encourage you to leave your name and state in the comments.
I am still incredibly excited about last Tuesday night's win - and I guess I'll admit, I've felt no small desire to gloat. This is partly due to the amazing amount of vitriol we've received in emails and comments on this website. And now that Governor Romney has gone from that title back to Brother Romney, we've seen an overwhelming increase in "hate mail" here; I've been deleting inappropriate comments regularly, and I have to stay on top of it or I'll find myself swamped in it like a zombie apocalypse. I keep thinking, "who are these people? and how did they find our email address? (And then I remember, "Oh yeah, that's right. I put it out there on the website.")
But then I saw this video - and I am humbled. President Obama is not gloating here, but instead he expresses genuine gratitude for his supporters who have worked so hard to make this second term possible. As Brooks and Shields pointed out on Friday's PBS NewsHour, this is a side of President Obama that we don't often see. He generally plays it very "cool" and expresses a limited range of emotion. But considering the ugliness of this election season and the bitter battle we've all just witnessed, his heartfelt speech to his campaign staff in Chicago revealed a truly inspired man with a depth of feeling that often goes unrecognized. I am thrilled for these next four years. And the President is already back to work, taking the lead towards a great compromise that will help us avoid the "fiscal cliff." So once again, let each of us get back to work as well - mending fences, repairing relationships (Facebook or otherwise,) and maybe even getting our home and visiting teaching done! Also, let's follow the words of our church leaders released in a statement this past week:
We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.
We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people.
The DNC is over; it is like saying goodbye to a good friend. But before I say how much I love and respect President Obama, and how inspired I felt listening to him speak Thursday night - "like General Conference come early," (if I can be egotistical enough to quote my own tweet,) and how I felt like his speech renewed hope for America and brushed aside the RNC's mockery and derisive comments of Obama's call for change, like chaff driven before the wind - before I say all of that, I have a couple of complaints to make.
But don't close your browser - it is not what you think. I realize that some might have found the tone of the DNC to be too harsh and critical, like this blogger at 1MormonDemocrat, but that's not what I'm complaining about. (I took a bit of a drubbing for my "I like Mitt" post from several days back, so I have no interest in being "nice" and getting more feedback like that.) My problem with the DNC is: WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE CAMERAMEN? Did anyone noticed how the side view cameras started shaking anytime they panned back from the speaker? It felt like one of the Bourne films, or even worse, that some Republican-leaning small business was trying to sabotage the DNC. Additionally, the camera seemed to find their audience pan shots at the most inopportune times: when a woman was rubbing her nose, or a child was biting his nails, or Michelle was talking to the Castro Wonder Twins, not paying attention at all. And some of the cuts to the audience were so quick, I was constantly wondering if there wasn't some subliminal advertising in there. That said, they seemed to have it figured out by President Obama's speech on Thursday night.
But back to the other speakers: John Kerry and Joe Biden unleashed a flurry of attacks on Mitt Romney and the Republicans. (Ask Osama Bin Laden if he is better off now than four years ago!) and (I found it fascinating last week — when Governor Romney said, that as President, he’d take a jobs tour. Well with all his support for outsourcing — it’s going to have to be a foreign trip.)
But the prize of the night was hearing our President spell out what four more years would look like. And I dare not comment too much on his near perfect oratory excellence. Instead, I will just be lazy and post the whole thing here:
In a post script to Thurdsday night, we all woke up Friday morning to some stagnant job numbers; this proved a brisk cup of coffee for the Romney campaign: "If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover." (He probably should have said "this morning is the withdrawal," because we are all missing the DNC a lot.) Regardless, I love it when we Mormons make drinking analogies - I mean, it's the one thing we know so much about. Romney might also have been rumored to say, "Obama's jobs plan is about as effective as giving a cup of sacramental wine to an inebriate," and "the Obama stimulus had money bouncing wildly around the country like a game of beer pong," and finally, "what was in that glass anyway?" And so the campaign continues.
President Obama may get a bump in the polls after three days of great speeches (that actually talked about the President, rather than one's self,) but at this point America is just sitting around waiting for the debates: the two men together on stage with no pesky barriers between them - having to answer each other's claims face to face - without Twitter, Fox News, or Cutter and Priebus to answer for them. (And based on Thursday night, I think Obama is going to do just fine.)
We Mormons are everywhere - all over the internet, TV, (and in some cities - on billboards and the sides of buses) - and never have we received this much scrutiny... and so it is with cautious footing that we run this website. We say this because our hope is what we do here doesn't put up a wall between ourselves and other more conservative or Republican-leaning Mormons. We appreciate and love them - (and hopefully not in a patronizing, we-are-better-than-you, way.) After the dust of this election settles, we will still be at church on Sunday mornings worshiping with our fellow Latter-day Saints, regardless of who they voted for the previous Tuesday and regardless of who wins. But we don't want to miss this opportunity to represent the strong ideals and beliefs of those of us who will be casting our votes for President Obama.
We received this email from Stephen, who happened across our site, and we believe his comments help to shine light on much of our reasoning in putting together this website:
Thank you for putting up this website. I am not LDS, but I have known quite a number of people who were, as I'm from the Pacific Northwest and was an avid genealogist before the Internet changed the game. With but one exception (in the Army) all (Mormons) that I've met have all been kind, generous, and humble - stunning examples of people who live a good life, performed good deeds, and treated others with respect. They were emissaries, living examples of people who truly aspired to be more like Jesus Christ. The "countenance" described in a recent post is something that even I found easy to spot. I've been in Southern California for some time now, and rarely meet Mormon people here. My memories are faded, and they have been tarnished by what I have seen in Mitt Romney. He has not shown himself to be one who cares about people. His lack of concern for those in need--particularly those his own actions have put in need--really surprised me. I was left to wonder if I had drawn the wrong conclusions. I know everyone is different, and one man is never an example of an entire group, but the writings, and even the very existence of this webpage affirm my early impressions. Reading here has been like Romney tarnish remover.
Thanks again making this effort, and for reminding me of truly good people I had long forgotten.
And thank you Stephen for your kind email, and thanks for giving us permission to post it here. This political campaign still has some months to go, and we hope that we can continue to participate in the dialogue and discussion of the issues - and we hope that we can do it in a way that is respectful and inclusive of those who believe differently than us. But clearly, we are not perfect - and so we are trying to do better.
So once again, I am looking over the Mormon Ethic of Civility - an article posted on the Mormon newsroom feed back in 2009. This is the perfect navigating tool for Mormon Dems and Pubs when it comes to engaging in political discourse.
Also, I really enjoyed this piece by Walter Kirn, the author of Thumbsucker, my favorite (Non-Deseret Book) Mormon fiction after Levi Peterson's The Backslider. The kindness and inclusiveness of Kirn's Mormon roommates and friends is what we offer each other. I also found this piece on MormonDems.com entitled, "Stop the Madness!" We might use this as a reminder of how to bring unity between Democrats and Republicans (inside and outside of the Church.) And if we are still wondering what we can do to better represent ourselves as Mormon Democrats, we might watch this YouTube video featuring an amazing Utah Mormon Democrat; we all know about Harry Reid (and we aspire to be like him,) but Brian King, member of the Utah State Legislature, is a great example as well: