Alan Kennedy-Shaffer served as a regional field director for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia. Educated at Yale University and William & Mary Law School, Kennedy-Shaffer is the author of DENIAL AND DECEPTION: A Study of the Bush Administration’s Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq. Kennedy-Shaffer’s writings have also appeared in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post, the Patriot-News, the Daily Press, and the Virginia Gazette. Alan lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. You can visit his website here.
I highly recommend googling his name to read about his exploits at Yale. It's hilarious; I promise.
What is the Obama Revolution?
By Alan Kennedy-Shaffer
By Alan Kennedy-Shaffer
Since The Obama Revolution, my second book, hit bookstores a month ago, I have delivered lectures, appeared on panels, autographed copies, and answered questions from readers and fans. Most people ask: What is The Obama Revolution? That one’s easy. The Obama Revolution, the first book published about Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign by a former staffer, provides an in-the-trenches look at how the 44th President of the United States came from behind to win the presidency and sparked a movement that has changed the face of American politics forever.
Sometimes powerful, sometimes poignant, always hopeful, The Obama Revolution includes encounters with Barack Obama, insight into why thousands of organizers left their jobs, their schools, and their families to join the most organized presidential campaign in American history. It is the story of how thousands of organizers spurred millions of Americans to register to vote and recruited millions of volunteers. At once meticulously researched and motivational, The Obama Revolution tells the story of a generation of young people—most under 30—who dropped everything to get involved.
But what is the Obama Revolution? Posed to me on more than one occasion by wizened professors, this question is more nuanced and difficult to answer than the first question. Was Barack Obama’s presidential campaign revolutionary in its rhetoric? Was the campaign revolutionary in its policy proposals? Was the campaign revolutionary in its grassroots strategy? Yes. But there is something deeper about Barack Obama’s rhetorical calls for a new era of responsibility that struck a chord with organizers and voters in a way not seen in decades. Consider this excerpt:
There may seem to be little in common between the young children who scampered after me in the housing projects on Allison Hill, eager for Obama stickers, and the Democrats in Westmoreland County who turned out in droves for rural action meetings. But below the surface, they all hope for a brighter future for their children and they share a belief that America can—and will—change. . . . Empowered to serve as the backbone of Obama’s well organized, well funded, quintessentially grassroots presidential campaign, young people left their jobs, their schools, and their homes, in order to recruit and mobilize an army of volunteers committed to positive change.
From just this brief passage in The Obama Revolution, it is possible to begin to get a sense of what made Barack Obama’s campaign truly revolutionary. Although Barack Obama’s speeches were electrifying, the campaign’s policy prescriptions solidly formulated, and the reach of the campaign’s 50-state strategy unprecedented, the revolution was first and foremost visible in eyes of the children who called to their mothers when I rang the doorbell, “Barack Obama’s at the door!” More than a campaign, the Obama Revolution is a call to arms at a challenging moment in history.
The Obama Revolution is a revolution in the way we campaign and the way we look at our government. And it is our government. Ultimately, the buck stops with the organizers, the volunteers, and the voters who made history by electing Barack Obama and who will continue to make history by keeping our nation accountable to the ideals upon which it was founded. We have an historic opportunity to turn the hope expressed by millions of Americans at the ballot box in November into the change that this nation needs. This is our moment. This is our time. This is our revolution.
Don't forget to read my review.