President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
I’m on a bus to Albuquerque, New Mexico and I’m looking at shoes. Rows and rows of shoes, selected for a bus ride or maybe for the miles they will walk the following day.
When I signed up for the "Road Trip to Change," in late October of 2008, I signed up to witness a spectacle. Part of me thought it would be an interesting drive--it wasn’t. We drove there and back mostly in the dark, at night. Sleeping (with the aid of a wise busmate’s Benadryl) was the only way to forget you were sleeping on a bus.
The other part of me thought that the bus trip would consist of a group of Obama supporters who were, literally, just there for the ride, with no intention of putting in any real effort. As I studied each person’s shoes, I wondered how long someone could blockwalk in clogs, or whether the guy in front of me brought another pair of shoes with more arch support than Havaianas.
We arrived in Albuquerque at around seven thirty in the morning, after an all-night drive that I remember in bits and pieces: staring out the foggy window into a West Texas misty night, the sun peeking out of the mountains as we neared our destination and an early morning pit stop where the older folks bought coffee and newspapers, while the college students slept in heaps of blankets and gadgets.
We piled off the bus, stretching our creaky bones and taking up clipboards and walk sheets -- page after page of targeted voters whose doors we would be knocking on for the next two days straight. A hundred Texans, bussed from a strip mall in Austin to a strip mall in Albuquerque, walked out into the street to fight for change.
I never heard anyone complain about their shoes. Two days went by and every day, from sun up until sun down, we walked the streets of Albuquerque. Young and old, we walked because we believed in something that was greater than ourselves, and because we wanted to make our country a better place to live. We walked because we saw a chance to elect someone who would fight for equal rights. We walked to elect someone who would shape the future, not fear it.
We walked for nights like tonight.