POLITICAL PROS. Dear Obama by Lindsey Adams

I am gay. I am from the Bay Area. And I do not like the cold.

About a year ago, I packed up my Volkswagen Jetta, bought chains that looked like the right size, mailed my absentee ballot, and drove to Reno. For you. Having missed the opportunity to travel to a more pivotal battleground state, Nevada and its 4 electoral votes were the closest I could come to impacting the election. Off I went.

A caravan of like-minded Bay Area-its went too. We plowed our way through a surprisingly awful snowstorm over Donner Pass. The McCain supporters were, embarrassingly, better prepared for the snow. SUVs and chains that actually appeared like they had been used in the last 5 years zipped by the Volkswagens, Mini Coopers, and Priuses. But…in the, at times, unlikely story that was our survival…we drove on until the elevation dropped, the temperatures warmed slightly, and the snow stopped.

The bright lights of Reno greeted your fearless precinct walkers, phone bankers, and voter-protection volunteers. The Obama volunteers, for whatever reason, clustered at the Circus Circus. We had heard, for whatever reason, the McCain volunteers were at the Atlantic. Thus, the Circus Circus was the hotel of the people…and of the future. We were Hotel Hope. They were Hotel Palin.

I checked in to a local office, got a packet, and went to sleep. Around 5:00 AM I put on every warm article of clothing I could find, and headed out to a precinct. I chattering college students in the lobby. They sleepily pulled coats over sweatshirts from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Sacramento State, and others. They also stared blankly at precinct-walking packets and asked hesitantly, “Do we really start knocking on door this early?”

For most of them — it was their first election.

My precinct seemed to me to be in the middle of nowhere. There were signs warning drivers of herds of wild horses. And it was really cold.

It was really really really cold. In fact, the other young attorney and I couldn’t believe how cold it was.

But everything went smoothly. My friends in other states sent me periodic texts asserting the same, marveling at the grassroots effort, or updating on exit polls for East Coast swing states. They sent pictures of lines of people happily waiting to vote.

We were still at the polling place when they called Pennsylvania. I was driving back to my hotel when they called the election. I stood at a bar in Hotel Hope with volunteers from both campaigns and watched John McCain deliver a concession speech to a hushed crowd. An even more hushed crowd, at the local Democratic Party celebration, would later watch Proposition 8 pass in California. California volunteers looked around at each other uneasily, knowing many of us had chosen between the effort to defeat that and the effort to elect you.

When we left the party it was even colder.

I thought Californians would vote down Prop 8, but they didn’t. I thought the California Supreme Court would strike down Prop 8, but it didn’t. I thought the sheer unfairness of passage would turn the tide in other states, but it doesn’t seem to have done that. At least not yet.

So now, a year later and a little more than 100 days into the presidency we hoped and prayed and donated and fought and froze for, I would just like to say…

I would do it all again. Everyone I know would.

Lindsey Adams’ Blog: NotesIntheMargin

About: Lindsey Adams is an attorney and political activist living in the Bay Area. Her political affiliations include: Membership Chair of Cal Alumni Pride (UC Berkeley’s LGBT Alumni Club), Board member of Californians for Justice (organization focused on protecting educational rights in CA), and founding member of Citizen Hope, a social networking community service organization.

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