I just posted pictures originally, but figured that I better go back and give a little more information about our trip to the Obama Rally at Nissan Pavilion on Thursday. It was a hot day, but we were fired up and ready to fight the crowds. I attended the rally with one of my best friends, her 14 year old son and my youngest daughter. My older daughter had a dress rehearsal for this weekend's dance recital, so she unfortunately was not able to go with us. My husband....well, he is a....well, how do I say this....he is actually a Republican :-) All joking aside, my husband really pushed baby girl and I to attend...witness to history, always remember this experience, etc. So, I pulled her out of school early and we fought the crowds to be part of the 10,000 others who felt compelled to hear Obama speak in person.
In addition to Senator Obama, we had the opportunity to hear from VA Governor Tim Kaine and VA Senator Jim Webb.....both, by the way, being discussed as potential VP candidates. I have long admired Tim Kaine for his ability to articulate the ways that his faith informs his politics. Senator Webb is also a very smart man, while a bit a cerebral in his speaking style, and he had the privilege of introducing Senator Obama to a wildly enthusiastic crowd. We arrived just as the parking lot opened at 2:00, stood in line with our fellow Obama-ites until 3:00, then waited comfortably seated until the first speaker went on at 5:00. At 5:45, Senator Webb took the stage with Senator Obama. After a rousing introduction, Senator Obama took over the mic at 6:00.
Most of what Senator Obama had to say I had heard before. I rarely miss his major speeches on TV and, if I do, I watch them later online. Yet, the magic in being there in person was significant. As one of his first major appearances since he clinched the nomination, his focus was fully on the general election, although he took plenty of time to compliment his rival from the primaries, Senator Clinton. The crowd was very supportive of this gesture of respect and cheered loudly as he listed the ways that Senator Clinton's candidacy had positively influenced him as a candidate and our country as a whole. I loved when he talked about the ways that seeing a women candidate run such a fierce campaign had impacted our daughters and their vision of their role in the world. After I heard about his meeting with Senator Clinton later that night, I told some friends that he clearly needed to meet with me and my friend Chris before he met with Hilary for their clandestine meeting....we were able to give him a few pointers in handling strong, opinionated women!! :-)
The most powerful part of being there was standing side by side with the 10,000 other people. There were many, many children there....all young witnesses to history, all taking an early interest in the peaceful process of transferring power in our country. While it was powerful for my daughter to be there, I was particularly moved by the large number of African-American families there with their children. As I said in my last post, I have to believe that my emotional reaction to the certainty of Senator Obama's nomination is doubled within the spirits of my African-American brothers and sisters. I have to believe that my pride in sharing this historic event with my daughter was nothing compared to the experience of the elderly gentlemen in the hat that identified him as a World War II veteran....an African-American man who had certainly grown up in a very different world than the world that these children were experiencing as they watched this dynamic man inspire a crowd of many colors. Perhaps one day, it won't matter that Senator Obama is a man of color....perhaps one day, we won't even notice. For now, I think it is right to notice and to celebrate....until we finally don't have to talk about it anymore at all.
Lastly, I was impressed once again by Senator Obama's commitment to make this a different kind of campaign. He stood there in front of 10,000 people and promised to not allow this to be a campaign of "politics as usual." He recounted a conversation with John McCain where they had agreed to a substantive debate on the issues. While I support Senator Obama, I have long been a fan of John McCain's independent spirit and willingness to think outside the box politically. I admire both of these men for their willingness to work across the aisles and to refrain from villifying the other party. I am excited and hopeful about this campaign between two honorable men. We'll see if that hope is based in reality!