Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:39 AM
bigtree (64,714 posts)
They 'Did It For Alex'
B. 1983 | By MARK LEIBOVICH
Alex signed on early to the Obama cause, taking a semester off from Wesleyan University to work on Obama’s Senate run in 2004. He was among the first to join Obama’s presidential campaign in its barest days in 2007 and also threw himself into the re-election effort in 2012. He worked various jobs, bounced from state to state and offered a convivial presence that bridged the cliques that form inevitably in campaigns. He organized a campaign book club. He grew what he called his “Jew-fro” to “expansive heights,” noted a compatriot, Jamie Citron. He dressed up as the Tobias Fünke character from “Arrested Development” — in tight denim shorts — on a freezing Iowa Halloween. He was demanding, fun and irreverent. And he was never shy about telling people that he loved them.
“Alex embodied so much of what the campaign stood for and also the fun of it,” says Buffy Wicks, a colleague. He was a true believer, beyond the usual zeal of a campaign worker. At Alex’s last Passover Seder at his parents’ home in Evanston, Ill., participants took turns sharing what they had been doing to improve the world. When it was Alex’s turn, he said simply, “I am doing it.”
Alex collapsed at his desk on July 13 at age 29. He was pronounced dead, of what was later determined to be cardiac arrhythmia, at a Chicago hospital. “Our brother Alex has passed away,” the campaign manager Jim Messina announced at headquarters. A stunned silence filled the office, broken by audible sobs; then everyone was sent home for the day. The daily smash-mouth of the race paused. Prayers were led, grief counselors were brought in and condolences were tweeted (by Mitt Romney, among others). The president called Alex’s parents in the hospital. Acorner testimonial area was designated for Alex at headquarters. It included bottles of bourbon (his preferred spirit), a jar of beef jerky (favored snack) and a vat of blueberries (from the Michigan farm where Alex spent his final weekend). “We will always remember your commitment, humor and passion,” the president wrote on a Post-it Note. “God bless.”
“If there was a single moment that unified our campaign and knit us together, it was this horrific event,” said David Alexrod, the campaign’s chief strategist. As often happens when death visits a competitive enterprise, the loss sparked a rallying cry: “Do it for Alex.” On election night, Alex’s family and friends gathered at a bar in Columbus, Ohio, as the results came in. “It was this amazing moment when we knew we were successful,” said Alex’s college friend Lodro Rinzler. “And we were also crushed with the realization that we weren’t getting Alex back just because we won. And that was part of the deal, too.”
Okrent's fellow campaigners made buttons honoring him after he died. (Gabrielle Plucknette/The New York Times)
7 replies, 2359 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
They 'Did It For Alex' (Original post)
|Surya Gayatri||Dec 2012||#7|
Response to bigtree (Original post)
Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:13 PM
Cha (184,211 posts)
6. How Inspiring to create
something uplifting out of Alex's life that was cut way too short! Bless his heart and RIP, Alex Thank you for your dedication to our Victory~
Thanks, bigtree.. to our Fawness!
Response to bigtree (Original post)
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 11:24 AM
Surya Gayatri (15,445 posts)
7. Please keep up your "fawning", bigtree! I'll take
deserved accolades over obsessive opprobrium any day--at least for those deemed to be on our side.
The soul grows weary under a 24/7 volley of incessant censure.
I always read your threads because they are a balm for troubled spirits.