Jill’s Story

“Out of the Kitchen for Obama”

During the sixties we all had friends and loved ones serving in Vietnam. We wrote letters to them every day. We spent countless hours around our kitchen tables bitchin’ about that immoral war.  We swore that never again would we let our government deceive us into attacking another country without provocation.

Then came Bush’s lies and deceptions on Iraq. The bitchin’ in the kitchen began anew. I was against attacking Iraq before the war resolution passed in Congress. I listened to and read about all the reasons they gave for taking our attention off of Afghanistan and going into Iraq. Made no sense to me. Bless Senator Byrd for trying his best to pry his colleagues from the big wheel of Bush’s steamroller.

And so we went into Iraq. And once again I was torn between bitchin’ about the mission and supporting our troops. Once again I had friends and loved ones in an immoral war. I wrote letters to them every day. The collective American bitchin’ in the kitchen grew and spilled into the streets. But I was still safely cocooned in my own kitchen, ranting and raving to anyone who came to visit.

Then came torture. And I drew the line. I would tear up and shake uncontrollably when listening to anyone who thought that torture was OK this time. 9/11. Rah-rah fear. NO. Torture is never OK. I got out of my kitchen and marched against the Iraq War in Washington DC in September of 2005. I plastered my car for the first time ever with stickers against the war and made a wooden peace dove sign to display the number of our fallen soldiers in Iraq as a memorial, updated every few days. I took my bitchin’ to my friends and neighbors. I armed myself with every little detail on what was being done in our names.

Then came the 2008 Presidential primaries and the one candidate who was against the Iraq War when I was against it- before we went in. Barack Obama was the one for me. One day I checked out Obama’s website. I clicked on Events. I found a house party (Splash for Change) near me and signed up. In all my years of keeping myself informed about our government and bitchin’ in my kitchen when I sensed injustices, I had never taken one step towards participating in a campaign. I had only participated by voting.

I was so excited to go to the Obama house party. I was so ready to surround myself with people who were excited about the election. I left my doom-and-gloom at home and arrived with a smile on my face. Cathy and Patrick greeted us with bigger smiles. I took another step out of my kitchen and signed up to host a house party. To honor Obama I decided to put up my tipi, Larklodge, for the occasion. As soon as I listed my event (POWWOW for Change) I was welcomed with more smiles. The first two to sign up for my Obama Gathering were Rob and Rachel from Brooklyn, two young artists who had also chosen to leave their bitchin’ in the kitchen behind and venture out on the Obama trail with their smiles.

Then came three months of participation in the Obama campaign. I phone banked every Tuesday night and knocked on my neighbors’ doors every weekend. Each time was more enjoyable than the last. I had even stopped wringing my hands somewhere along the way. Every week I sensed an evolution. The number of un-decided voters went down and the number of Obama volunteers went up. By the time Senator Obama came to Canton, Ohio on October 27th, “We the People” had become one big collective smile.

Finally came Election Day. The first thought that came to my mind as I looked out of my bedroom window into the treetops that glorious morning was, “Today is the day that we stop the torture!”

I am so proud of my fellow Ohioans and Americans for choosing inclusion over exclusion by voting for Barack Obama to be our next President.

And Justice For All!

Jill Bertram Hayden
Massillon, OH

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