Thursday, January 31, 2008

Was It Worth It?

Well, it was a big Wednesday for me...I attended my first political rally! Barack Obama spoke in Denver yesterday. I really had no intention of attending the event at the University of Denver (DU) until a nice woman in New York called me to say, "Do you know that Barack Obama is speaking in Denver?" and I said, "Why, yes, I do..." and she said, "Would you like to go?" and I said, "well, sure".

So, then I heard that they were expecting 8,000 people, and quickly decided that I wanted no part of that.

But then I thought about it more, and decided that it would probably be really exciting to be right there in the thick of the action. Every once in a while, being in the thick of it sounds like a great idea.

So, I went to work for an hour; I thought ahead and took the light rail to DU rather than trying to drive into the mayhem; and I dressed completely inappropriately. Actually, if things had gone the way I envisioned them, I would have stepped right off the light rail into the arena, found a seat, and knit for 2 hours until Barack finally showed up.

But, no............

Instead, I stood at the end of a 1/2 mile line winding through the campus. Take a look at this line. And it couldn't have been more than 10 degrees! Holy cow was it cold! I was so superbly underdressed, it was embarassing!

I was all by myself, but met a very nice woman named Jean who is VERY politically motivated and inspiring. We decided to be rally buddies for the day.

And then we stood in line some more.

And more.
And finally we were standing in line in the sun...hallelujah! I think that raised the temperature at least a degree or two. I was so uncomfortably cold, I couldn't open my eyes, or move my face, fingers, or toes, or speak, or breathe.

And then we started moving! Finally, after about 2 hours of this craziness.

And we got closer...and we were on the steps, and at the door, and we walked right through security, and I held on to Jean for dear life as claustrophobia set in.

And we finally walked through another set of doors and saw an open place to stand, and looked around for all the banners and patriotic colors, and the podium, and all we saw was this.

A gym.

And a screen that showed those nice patriotic colors and the podium and the important people.


After a few confusing moments we realized that we were in the overflow! We weren't even in the main arena. We were going to have to watch Obama speak on that screen!

Well, you know me...I wasn't having it! After all that cold and waiting. Hell, no! So I decided I would just make my way into the other arena. Well, that idea didn't last long. They weren't letting us out of the overflow gym! But, the nice woman keeping me locked in there told me that, "Obama will come to this room."

Well, that made me feel a bit better.

We watched the screen. And there was Federico Pena..the fomer mayor of Denver. And he was chanting and clapping his hands. And then he introduced Rod Smith, Denver Bronco and Blackjack Pizza spokesman. He trembled and mumbled and explained that he just got into politics 10 minutes before standing before these 12,000 people.

And then something exciting happened. Mr. Obama himself came into the gym to see us, the lowly overflow crowd. He waved and smiled, and held a baby. Awwwwww......Then he spoke very briefly about how he just wanted to acknowledge us, the overflowers, and thank us for coming out to support him.

He's down there in the midst of that crowd of people. I swear. And that just made us feel so much better. Good move on his part...automatic brownie points.

...Meanwhile, back on the screen, a young lady, the leader of the Young Democrats or something, introduced Caroline Kennedy. And the crowd gasped. Apparently this was unexpected and amazing!

Caroline Kennedy spoke very beautifully about how she has never seen a candidate move and inspire the American people like her father did, until she met Barack Obama.

And then the man was on the screen.

He shook hands for about 10 minutes with the people behind the podium. Then he took the stage and got us pumped up for the Democratic National Convention here in Denver in August. He encouraged us to caucus this coming Tuesday. He said some nice things about his buddy John Edwards, who had just announced he was dropping out of the race. And he talked about exactly what I expected him to talk about. Don't get me wrong, it all sounded good to me. He's been against the war from Day 1 and will end the war when he is elected president. He outlined his stance on the environment, education, healthcare, lobbyists, etc... He promised us that George W. Bush would not be on the ballot in November! (That got a reaction from the crowd...)

I didn't hear anything that I couldn't have learned from his website, the newspaper, or from watching a debate on television. However, I will say, it was worth it.

It was exciting to attend my first political rally, it was exciting to wait in the cold with 12,000 other people who are motivated and inspired about change in this country, it was exciting to see him standing in the same room as me, and it was exciting to take the morning off of work.

I'm still undecided about which candidate I would like to support, but I admired his enthusiasm during his speech, and the fact that he took the time to speak to us, the little people in the overflow gym.

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