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December 02, 2007 02:14 AM UTC

Colorado Women for Obama: Fierce and Fired Up

  • by: saoirse03

This week, Colorado joined with eight other “Feb. 5th” states to launch their own Women for Obama leadership committee. We participated in a conference call with Michelle Obama and kicked off a local network of women who are strategizing and organizing on behalf of Barack Obama. Events are planned every week throughout Colorado.

As women gathered in a circle and shared why they support Barack, my thoughts went to the woman who was my first role model.

My mother understands loss. She lost her husband at the age of 28, lost her dream of life with the man who loved her deeply, caring for her home and children in the “traditional” role she’d been taught to aspire to. My father was a poorly paid teacher in small-town Nebraska, died without life insurance, without savings. My mother lost her high school sweetheart, partner, and any sense of life being anything other than just plain hard. I was eight, my brothers four and two the year we lost my father, just three years before we would watch Jackie Kennedy bury her husband and young John salute his father’s casket. In my house, we understood grief.

In my house, we learned that women had to be fierce in the face of life’s challenges.

It’s a word that I think of often when I listen to women (and men) tell their stories about why they support Barack Obama. I hear it in Michelle Obama’s voice when she talks about why her husband should win this race and implores us to “be not afraid” to vote this time for the possibility of what could be. I hear it in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. from a speech he gave just a year before he died, and carried forward by Obama when he talks about “the fierce urgency of now.”

In her story, another mother tells about holding her weeping son the night George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004. He’d nurtured a dream of a military career for years and was poised to enlist within the month. He knew he’d be deployed to Iraq, knew the rate at which American troops were coming home in flag-draped caskets. In telling her story, his mother describes holding back her own anguish and instead supporting his dream. Her dark night would come later and last for months. In her words, I hear the fierceness of her love and the fears she has quelled to survive.

A mother reaches out to her disaffected gay daughter, talking about the possibility of a leader who can heal the deep divide in which we find ourselves … a sister says goodbye to a big brother headed off to the Middle East … a retiree remembers “Bobby” and dreams fiercely of a different future for her grandchildren … a young college professor exhorts her students to think critically about their world, contributes in a significant way to our joint future but cannot afford basic health insurance …

From the seventeen-year-old high school student who can’t vote but wants to help to the ninety-year-old civil rights activist who wonders if this is her last opportunity to witness the repair of America’s place in the world, we are women who are fierce. We love our children, our families, our sons and brothers and mates. We want our communities to come back together in hope, not fear. We want our country to once again stand for something good and strong and honest in the world.

And so we share our stories with one another, and we telephone our neighbors, and we walk together ringing doorbells in our communities. We band together, we inspire one another, and we do not give up. We understand what is at stake, we see the possibility an Obama presidency would offer.

We are fierce in our love, and we are fierce in our determination to change the world together.


3 thoughts on “Colorado Women for Obama: Fierce and Fired Up

  1. That’s quite the story! I’m curious what you see Obama’s weeknesses to be, and how they will be overcome.

    If women get behind Obama, it will be a great momentum builder. I’d like to hear more about why women should support him.

  2. Very nice first diary Saoirse, I look forward to reading many more.

    A new poll in Iowa shows Obama leading with Women voters.

    In the new poll, Obama leads with support from 31 percent of women likely attend the caucuses, compared to 26 percent for Clinton. In October, Clinton was the preferred candidate of 34 percent of women caucusgoers, compared to 21 percent for Obama.

    Women represent roughly six in 10 Democratic caucusgoers, according to the new poll.

  3. From the NY Times

    In the intensifying battle for the votes of Democratic women, Senator Barack Obama’s campaign is trying to turn years of feminist thinking on its head and argue that the best candidate for women may, in fact, be a man.

    The pitch for Mr. Obama, in a new video, speeches and talking points aimed at women, presents him as deeply sensitized to the needs and aspirations of women, raised by a single mother, “a man comfortable with strong women in his life,” as his wife, Michelle Obama, puts it, and a man committed to the issues they care about.

    …Some of the women supporting Mr. Obama – politically active Democrats, women who pay attention to the glass ceiling in politics – admitted that they had to overcome a few pangs to close the deal. “As a strong feminist most of my life, the question always is, How can you not support the woman candidate?” said Jean Lloyd-Jones, a longtime Democratic activist in Iowa. “And I frankly have been torn by that.”

    In the end, Ms. Lloyd-Jones said she finally decided that Mr. Obama was the more progressive candidate, and her progressive instincts trumped her feminist instincts.

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