President Obama’s Eulogy Used to Get Out the Vote

8 mins read

Former President Barack Obama eulogized the late Rep. John Lewis as “a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America” that lies in the nation’s future. John devoted his time on this Earth fighting the very attacks on democracy … we’re seeing circulate right now… The fate of this democracy depends on how we use it. It isn’t automatic. It has to be nurtured, it has to be tended to. We have to work at it. It’s hard.” – Axios

Stephanie Moore with the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus used the moving tribute to inspire Kalamazoo residents to honor John’s legacy by voting. This is how Stephanie’s team designed a campaign video in four hours with free software.

President Obama's eulogy used to inspire voters in Michigan election.

Using John Lewis’ legacy to inspire voters

Stephanie chose comments on the importance of voting from President Obama’s eulogy for her video.

“He knew that every single one of us has a God-given power. And that the fate of this democracy depends on how we use it; that democracy isn’t automatic, it has to be nurtured, it has to be tended to, we have to work at it, it’s hard. And so he knew it depends on whether we summon a measure, just a measure, of John’s moral courage to question what’s right and what’s wrong and call things as they are. He said that as long as he had breath in his body, he would do everything he could to preserve this democracy. That as long as we have breath in our bodies, we have to continue his cause.

If we want our children to grow up in a democracy — not just with elections, but a true democracy, a representative democracy, a big-hearted, tolerant, vibrant, inclusive America of perpetual self-creation — then we are going to have to be more like John. We don’t have to do all the things he had to do because he did them for us. But we have got to do something. As the Lord instructed Paul, “Do not be afraid, go on speaking; do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Just everybody’s just got to come out and vote. We’ve got all those people in the city but we can’t do nothing.

Like John, we have got to keep getting into that good trouble. He knew that nonviolent protest is patriotic; a way to raise public awareness, put a spotlight on injustice, and make the powers that be uncomfortable.”

Kalamazoo campaign

In 2018, Moore made history by becoming Kalamazoo County’s first black chairperson to lead the Board of Commissioners. She is now seeking the 60th District seat currently held by State Rep. Jon Hoadley, a Democrat, who is term-limited in 2020. Others on the slate include:
Doreen Gardner – Kalamazoo County Clerk
Tami Rey – Kalamazoo County Commissioner – District 1
Monteze Morales – Kalamazoo County Commissioner – District 2
Jennifer Strebs – Kalamazoo County Commissioner – District 4
Veronica McKissack – Kalamazoo County Commissioner – District 5

Campaign video created with iMovie uses a short clip of President Obama's eulogy interlaced with the candidates clips.

Optimizing the video to get out the vote (GOTV)

President Obama’s eulogy from C-SPAN was edited with iMovie, a free MacBook app. The video uses President Obama’s eulogy as the basis interlaced with short candidate clips. The closing animated sequence reads “Kalamazoo. Vote. August 4th”. The video was captioned and translated into Spanish in order to reach more voters. The Spanish transcript reads:

“Sabía que cada uno de nosotros tiene un poder dado por Dios. Y que el destino de esta democracia depende de cómo la usemos. Y que la democracia no es automática. Tiene que ser alimentada. Tiene que ser atendida. Tenemos que trabajar en ella. Es difícil. Y entonces supo que depende de si convocamos una medida. Sólo una medida del valor moral de John para cuestionar. ¿Qué está bien y qué está mal? Y llamar a las cosas como son. Dijo que mientras tuviera un respiro en su cuerpo, haría todo lo posible para preservar esta democracia. Y mientras tengamos aliento en nuestros cuerpos, tenemos que continuar su causa. Si queremos que nuestros hijos crezcan en una democracia. 

No sólo con elecciones, sino con una verdadera democracia. Una democracia representativa. Una América con un gran corazón, tolerante, vibrante e inclusiva. De perpetua auto-creación, entonces vamos a tener que ser más como John. No tenemos que hacer todas las cosas que él tuvo que hacer porque las hizo por nosotros. Pero tenemos que hacer algo. El Señor instruyó a Pablo. No tengas miedo. Sigue hablando. No te quedes en silencio. Porque yo estoy contigo y nadie te atacará para hacerte daño. Porque tengo muchos en esta ciudad que son mi pueblo. Todos tienen que salir a votar. Tenemos, tenemos a toda esa gente en la ciudad, pero no pueden hacer nada. 

Como John, tenemos que seguir metiéndonos en ese buen lío. Él sabía que la protesta no violenta es patriótica. Una forma de concienciar al público. Y poner un foco en la injusticia y hacer que los poderes que están incómodos. Como John, no tenemos que elegir entre las protestas y la política. No es una situación de cualquiera de las dos. Es una situación de ambas. Tenemos que participar en la protesta donde sea efectivo, pero también tenemos que traducir nuestra pasión y nuestras causas en leyes.”

Watch the video in English or in Spanish.


Bottle inspiration in your campaign videos with free apps like iMovie.
Make sure to caption and translate your videos in order to reach more voters.


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