Wednesday

One Person Stood Up

Among the guests in the First Lady’s box last night at the State of the Union address was Edith Childs, a county council member from South Carolina.

Mrs. Childs has a distinct connection to President Obama, one that will no doubt go down in history.

In 2007, the beginning of his first presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama was a long-shot candidate in a crowded field. He took his retail politics to big cities and small towns - meeting and greeting people, bringing his message of hope and change.

On one rain-soaked June night, a road-weary Mr. Obama arrived at the civic center in the small town of Greenwood, South Carolina. He was dismayed to see a very small crowd of supporters.

As the story goes, Mrs. Childs noticed disappointment on the candidate’s face at the small turnout. She yelled out, “Fired Up.” In classic call-and-response fashion, the supporters answered, “Fired Up.” Mrs. Childs then yelled, “Ready to go,” and the crowd responded, “Ready to go.”

Senator Obama and his staff were infused with new energy and a campaign chant was born. As he has told supporters many times, one person stood up. One person changed a room. And by extension, one person can change the world.

Right before heading over to Congress to give his final State of the Union address, President Obama emailed his supporters, saying:
“We've done some big things together over these past seven years. And we're not finished. Tonight I'll lay out a vision for an economy that's even stronger, a country that's safer, and a union that's more perfect. Because with one year left in my presidency, I'm still fired up and ready to go.”


For a compelling history of the 2008 campaign, as told by news media, politicians, and ordinary people, see King's Dream: Barack Obama Becomes President of the United States of America.