How Brits are using #welovetheNHS to support Obama

Karen Bruce campaigning for Barack ObamaLast October I went on holiday to Philadelphia, which is in Pennsylvania and was one of the key states that Barack Obama needed to win. We ended up as a bit of a busman’s holiday as we spent a good bit of time campaigning for Obama. For the holiday we did a house swap with a couple in Philadelphia so we ended up volunteering in the local Fishtown office of the Democrats. What was most amazing is how similar it was canvassing the streets of Philadelphia to doing the same in places like Garforth, Methley, Swillington, Rothwell and Wetherby.The picture is me and Esme preparing to set out to do some good old-fashioned door knocking.

You hear some amazing and moving stories on the doorstep. In one house we visited the mother and grandmother were adamant they weren’t going to bother voting because “all politicians are the same”. After I’d spoken to them for a while we discovered that the grandfather was plagued with health problems and couldn’t afford the treatment he really needed. I explained that all politicians weren’t the same and that one of Obama’s main commitments was healthcare reform to give families like theirs a fair opportunity to receive the same healthcare that in the USA only the privileged can afford. I was so excited when I realised that my arguments had succeeded and that the whole family had pledged to support Obama!

President Obama (I still get goose bumps when I say it) is now fighting right-wing Republicans to get his healthcare reform plans enacted. The Republicans are resorting to every dirty trick in the book and are launching vicious attacks on our NHS, claiming that it’s “socialist” healthcare and it doesn’t give people the care they’d get under America’s private system. The Republicans are running nasty TV ads full of lies attacking the NHS.

Yesterday an amazing thing happened and a guy called Graham Lineham decided to use the internet and people power to fight back. Graham is better known as the award winning comedy writer behind Father Ted and The IT Crowd. He started a hash tag on Twitter called #welovetheNHS, within hours it was the most talked about topic on Twitter as thousands and thousands of people starting sharing their stories of how the NHS had helped them. The Labour Party has now put together a fantastic little widget that means you can display these moving stories on your website or Facebook. As well as showing it below I’ve created a special page for it here.

Yes he has

I really don’t know what to say about Barack Obama’s victory, it’s too exciting for words. I knew it was looking good for Obama and the feeling was great campaigning in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. But I didn’t dare to count my chickens almost as though victory was going to be snatched away – again. It would have been great to win even with a small majority but this is a decisive result.

Wow has Obama got a lot to live up to! If anybody can do it he can and will.

This is a defining moment for America and the world and everyone around the world can see that anything is possible and that voting does make a difference!!!!!!

On the Obama campaign trail in Philly

Philadelphia 042 Really enjoying volunteering for the Barack Obama campaign here in Philadelphia, and the feeling here is really positive in this key swing state. I have been amazed at the responses whilst out knocking on doors though, even though you have candidates as different as Obama and McCain you still get some people saying “they’re all the same” unbelievable! In many ways it’s not so different to door knocking in Leeds. I was talking to one woman last night whose grand daughter was with her, she told me about her grand daughter’s fight with cancer and the numerous treatments and operations she’s had and how brave she’s been. The woman was undecided who to vote for so I told her about Obama’s plan to change health insurance so that pre-existing conditions could be included as they currently aren’t. She wasn’t aware of this so it was a really useful chat. She was also interested to know what people in the UK thought about the candidates and I’m sure I was right in telling her that most are routing for Obama. From being an undecided, I’ve helped to make her promise faithfully to vote for Obama.

We’re here for a break and are doing some sightseeing, but have managed to squeeze in some campaigning here and there too.

I was lucky enough, with Stuart and Esme, to watch the big debate between Obama and McCain live on Tuesday with a group of Philadelphia Democrats in one of the supporters’ homes so we’re all getting well into the election fever, we haven’t had such an exciting election since 1997, only sorry we won’t still be here at election time to help out and hopefully to celebrate!