Oberlin Blogs

What I'm Thankful For

December 3, 2008

Alice Ollstein ’10

Because paying hundreds of dollars to fly from Ohio to L.A. for only a few days is a bit ridiculous, I caught a ride with some friends to have Thanksgiving in the Windy City with my extended family. At the dinner itself, which was served around 3 p.m., because the Midwest is weird, we all went around to say what we were thankful for. Most people mentioned, their friends, family and health, and when it was my turn I said I was thankful that the first president I ever got to vote for won. This provoked a chorus of enthusiasm (Chicago is, if possible, more obsessed with Obama than Oberlin) and steered the rest of the conversation to everyone's election night experience. Even though being in Chicago, especially in Grant Park where Obama gave his acceptance speech, sounded wonderful, I wouldn't have traded being in Oberlin that night for all the world. It's weird to be nostalgic about something that happened a mere month ago, but my friends and I can't stop talking about it. For an account of the spirit of that night, see an article I helped write for the Oberlin Review.

There was so much to be thankful for that night besides actually winning. There were the hundreds of Oberlin students--including yours truly--that woke up at 5 a.m. to help man the polls and make sure every vote counted. We worked with a local non-partisan organization called Reclaim Lorain (Oberlin is in Lorain County) and talked to people as they came in to vote to make sure they had the correct ID and were in the right polling place. These are the two main reasons people don't have their votes counted! And we sure did our job right because Lorain County and the state of Ohio swung blue. I was so glad I volunteered in the weeks leading up to the election, doing phonebanking and canvassing, because when Nov. 4th rolled around, I felt like I was really part of the victory.

I'm also thankful that instead of just kicking back and celebrating, thinking, "Well, our country's in the right hands now, so we can relax," students are moving forward with plans and ideas--everything from closing the School of the Americas to pushing for federal support for solar and wind energy. The general sentiment is that we should all be raising our voices even louder, now that someone might actually be listening.

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