Friday, November 14, 2008

Jeremy Goldberg's comments

From Jeremy Goldberg:

Hi everyone:

So it's taken me a few days to both finally sleep and collect my thoughts.  Having heard from many of you, I know that you share my exitement, enthusiasm and wonder after Tuesday night. 

I, for one, am still processing Obama's victory. On the one hand, you could say I expected it--both based on my conviction from the very beginning that he could and should win, and by the objective analysis anyone could read heading into Tuesday's election.  On the other hand, I don't think I was really prepared for it to happen. 

This campaign, and Obama's ultimate triumph, has led me to a few insights:

  • It is a remarkable thing when people mobilize behind a cause.  I have been actively involved in the non-profit sector for almost eight years (ten, if you count my internet startup!). But this campaign experience is completely different from serving on a board or a benefits committee for an organization you believe in.  It is special to watch people working together to change their country, and the selflessness, sacrifice, camaraderie, and dedication that such change requires. 
  • One can only wonder what we could accomplish if you applied such a movement to some of the great challenges we face--such as education reform or conservation .  This might be Obama's greatest opportunity:  how to convert the legions of people he drew into the process to support a sustained effort to attack these challenges, which will require a change in behavior on the part of the American people. I think he will, and if the Obama supporters around me are any indication, I think they will respond to the call for action…
  • It has been remarkable to wach people from around the world react to Obama's victory.  I've personally heard stories about the reaction of friends in England, Namibia, Cameroon, Kenya, Pakistan, Gaza, Ramallah, Turkey, Israel and Egypt.  I believe in the notion of American exceptionalism (for good and bad), and this election was an example of an outcome that could really only happen in America.  Despite all the Pew polls and other indicators of the extent of anger and frustration with the United States, the reaction to this election is evidence that the world wants to look to the US.  This victory validates their faith in the American idea, even if they have lost faith in American practice.  But unlike a JFK who similarly captured the world's attention, President Obama will be presiding over a world that is much more interconnected, and where the bully pulpit has much greater reach.  He truly has a global constituency watching and evaluating his every move--a challenge and opportunity. 
  • This election has restored my faith and belief in public service.  Not because Obama won, though I'm certainly glad the country got this one right.  But it has to do with the amazing experiences I had traveling the country for the campaign.  I had the most powerful conversations in living rooms in Iowa, South Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It is remarkable to me that these people even answered the door, let alone shared their opinions, stories and ideas.  I saw desperate poverty, and the consequences of a failing education system and health care system that crystallized those problems for me like no book, tv special or congressional hearing could ever do.  But I saw an enduring faith in the people I talked to that government could still help them, and a hunger for leadership that understood their plight.
  • My greatest satisfaction--beyond the ultimate victory, was in seeing the reaction of so many of my friends and colleagues who never seemed interested or engaged in politics before.  To see many of you head down to PA, make phone calls, give money, poll watch, and attend debate watching parties was really moving and inspiring. 

I want to thank everyone for understanding that I disappeared at times, and for tolerating a huge number of emails/appeals. I also really appreciate all the amazing phone calls and messages since Tuesday.  I'm only now working my way through them.  And if you sent me a text message, unfortunately, my blackberry deleted them all about midnight on election night, so txt me again (and let me know if you know how to stop my blackberry from regularly dumping my messages).

As for my plans.  Stay tuned.  I'm in the process of evaluating my options, with no decisions made.  I'll be doing some consulting in the meantime on some projects/organizations of interest to me.

Onwards and upwards,

Jeremy S. Goldberg
M: 646.228.5338


Post a Comment

<< Home