One Canadian's journey Through the Looking Glass and into the world of American partisan politics

By Tarik Chelali
Published: January 27, 2009

Like many of you, I woke up early January 20, 2009. The date has been etched into my mind for a few months now. It is the day an idol and an inspir­ing figure would begin his new­est journey. Barack Obama and I are not brothers, although a few of my friends say we look alike. Nor is he my president—I hold three passports, none of which are dark blue with a bald eagle on the cover. But, it is fair to say we share a few things in common.

Like President Obama, my ancestry lies in the heart of Af­rica. My father was born at the doors of the Sahara desert in a north African village in Algeria. Like President Obama, I con­sider myself a veteran in the process of moving from house to house and neighbourhood to neighbourhood; until UBC, I had never been at a school for more than two years at a time. Most importantly, I share with President Obama the belief that citizens, and not their govern­ment, are accountable for the state of their nation.

It is under this paradigm and with a flurry of enthusiasm that I took a trip to visit New Hamp­shire Democrats the weekend before Senator Obama became President-elect Obama.

On exchange to McGill Uni­versity from September to De­cember of this year, I joined the campus Democrats club. The club, which was mostly made up of Canadian students, orga­nized weekly trips to a variety of Democratic campaign offices throughout the Northeastern states. My group and I went to Claremont, New Hampshire and did everything we could to get these white people to vote blue.

I found myself in Claremont waving my arms with a sign that read “Red Sox Fans for Obama.” On the busy boule­vards, drivers honked, yelled or called me a nigger. Later on, I phoned old ladies only to hear them hang-up, cry with joy or complain that we had called them six times in three days. I knocked on enough doors to learn when to back down from seemingly evil Republicans and their small but vicious poodles. Claremont gave me a slew of photos for Facebook and a win­dow into the AmericanDream. --NewsHammer 1/28/2009


  1. Alan Gillis // 2/26/2009 12:26 PM  

    Alan Gillis Comment on this article in The Ubyssey,
    February 3, 2009 at 10:09 am.

    We can only hope that Obamamania is sticky enough to do something
    about the mess left behind by Bush and Co. Blue Sox fans unite.

    More on Obama, the Media Magnet as the Hollywood Reporter calls him,
    on NewsHammer. . .