Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm proud of my little school for hosting  a big event today.

I'm proud that a phenomenal candidate like Barack Obama is running for president - someone who is intelligent, articulate, thinks through the issues and seems to really get that we need something drastically different. Whether he can deliver on that is another matter, of course, but hopefully he will get the chance.

The line to get in snaked through the campus, and was extremely slow moving. There were some McCain supporters with signs outside, but they were outnumbered 5 to about 3,000 so they didn't exactly achieve much. There were t-shirt sellers, and button sellers and all sorts of people that the police initially tried to move on, but eventually just gave up on because there were so many of them.

There were metal detectors, and secret service guys, press guys and local dignitaries. There were banks of cameras, banks of reporters at their laptops. And many, many ordinary folk like me who took time to stand in line yesterday, and to stand in line again today. Some people took their kids with them. I can imagine those kids in 40 or 50 years saying "I saw him. I saw Barack Obama in person before he became president."

Once I finally got in, the room was hot. It was crowded. It took a long time to find somewhere to sit. I ended up sitting on the stairs of the bleachers, near a woman who was telling everyone not to sit on the stairs because it was a fire hazard. But what could we do? There weren't enough seats for the number of people they let in.

We waited a long time for the show. The crowd was boisterous and in high spirits. Different sections of the bleachers tried to better one another with chants and shouts. And I don't want to brag, but I'm proud to say that the NPR guy came over to my section to record us. Not the other sections.

The camaraderie in the audience was amazing. Apart from the fire hazard obsessed woman, that is. When we weren't chanting and stomping our feet, we all chatted together, and waited together amiably. Waiting but agreeing that it would be worth the wait.

Finally our patience was rewarded, more than half an hour after the start was schedule when everybody came onto the stage. Barack spoke for about ten minutes at the podium. As you can see from my second photo above, our view of the podium was not so great, due to the teleprompter. But luckily for us, most of the event was in the form of a seated panel discussion, so I was able to get a much better view once that started.

It went on for nearly 2 hours. I admit, occasionally my attention wandered as I found myself interested in the camera guys or the local reporter doing a live feed to the lunchtime news. And then I would snap back thinking OMG these people are really here. It was in many ways surreal - like watching the TV, except that those familiar voices and familiar faces were really right there and not on screen in my living room.

I was interested in all the discussions. I hope that they can really bring about all the new green jobs they were talking about and planning. I hope we can both save the environment and the economy at the same time. I hope that health insurance premiums aren't so expensive. I hope that they get the chance to try to make these changes.

What a day.



bleu said...



Meg said...

I'm so jealous!

Almamay said...

How exciting!! When I was a student the first time I saw all the candidates speak in the 1988 election and it was exactly as you described. Great fun and bit surreal.

One of my closest colleagues has been very excited about the US election. We are both immigrants to the UK, me from USA him from Sierra Leone. Both of us worked and studied at night to become solicitors as a second career. He has decided to travel the US to be there while history is made during this election. I'm so jealous!!

Please send me an Obama badge so I can wear it in London. x

calliope said...

that is so so cool! & those photos are GREAT!. wow. What an awesome experience. And very cool to know that he was just as groovy in real life as he seems on my tv.

Billy said...

Wow! Sounds a great experience!

Care said...

That is so cool!