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Last night, I had dinner with the members of the local "Obama Leadership Team." As you know, they're big on titles. I've worked a lot of campaigns. Of the other six people at the table, one had done a little work for Clinton in 1992; for the rest, this was their first campaign.
Near the end of the evening, one asked if anyone else felt a little subdued. They all spoke about feeling "relieved" that Obama had won, of being tired, of understanding that all the work had finally paid off. BIG.
Personally, I've been a Democrat a really long time, which means I've lost more races than I've won. I'm somewhat numb, perhaps disbelieving. As if something could come and remove the joy. Intellectually, I know this is untrue. But it all still feels a little surreal.
I do, however, know two things. First, coming out of days? weeks? months? of the campaign, I look forward to simple things like 8 straight hours of sleep, and eating with a knife and fork on a regular basis. (In campaigns, donuts and pizza rule.)
But what I really know is that each and every one of us has a choice right now. To relish the win and go back to "regular life" or to stay engaged. I believe that President-elect Obama would be the first to say that "winning" is not just about him, but also about the work to come.
If people feel that an Obama win is special for all the reasons we all know, but that it ends there, then the campaign has not accomplished what it really set out to do. If instead, people, perhaps millions of people, understand that it was their work, their dollars, their sweat that won this thing, then this is success beyond all hope. Time will tell whether campaigns are forever changed. The money, the organization, the utilization of technology may spread to other campaigns, or this may have been an historic anomaly. But there are many people who have been tranformed by their work on the campaign. Not just the outcome, but the work itself.
So, what about you?