This is my favorite story to tell. And I decided to share it tonight because tonight, for the first time since moving back to my hometown in the conservative northwest corner of Iowa, I was brave enough to wear a Barack Obama shirt to the gym. This is huge. I try not to mix politics in with my job. I try to keep my politics to myself. I’ll share if people genuinely care but I don’t want to ruin relationships with people over voting decisions. Tonight, I needed inspiration to work on my volleyball serve and since I couldn’t find my Tebow jersey, my Obama shirt was the next best thing.
I got sucked in to the Obama campaign last time around. Curiosity made me go hear this little known politician when he stopped in Madison County at a park by a quaint covered bridge. I showed up cynical and eager to hear this man’s vision. Maybe 50-75 people were there. I won a door prize ($10 to the coffee house? Yes please!) I drew a llama on the gift certificate that said “Me llamo Obama” and he signed it. Bet he never agrees to that again.
After hearing him speak, I wanted to help. I wanted to help in a quiet, backstage role. I wasn’t comfortable evangelizing people over the phone with the Obama gospel. I addressed postcards, I made coffee runs, I helped stuff envelopes and I worked the event when he came to speak again in Winterset.
The only person I tried to convince to caucus for Obama was my brother. I’m still not sure whether or not he was joking when he said he was going to caucus for Clinton. I asked him what it would take to caucus for Obama instead and he humorously replied, “Only Superman could talk me into caucusing for Obama.”
It was close to caucus time at this point and in an attempt to make the Madison County Obama campaign staffer laugh, I told her what he had said. She laughed and then paused. (Wait for this… it’s the best part…)
“We have Brandon making calls today. What’s your brother’s number?”
BRANDON! As in played Superman in the movies Brandon. Brandon Routh. Brandon.
And I gave her Nathan’s number and Superman called my brother and left the world’s most epic voicemail which my idiot brother accidentally deleted after listening to it once. If we still had the voicemail, I would send it to Ira Glass. I’m sure it would fit some theme for This American Life.
I don’t know much about campaigning. I don’t usually take part. But I will say that the Obama campaign had to capitalize on moments like that. The attention to detail and to genuinely getting to know people still strikes me as a fantastic model for reaching out to a community. I wish churches functioned more like the Obama campaign of 4 years ago.
There. I talked politics and religion in the same blog. Obviously I have no limits.