The last night of the Democratic National Convention was far more fun than I anticipated. My expectations for Obama's speech were pretty low because I'm not a Democrat and I do not eat, sleep, and breath politics, but, as it turns out, all that was required was the ability to let loose amidst a crowd of strangers. I've been tipsy at sporting events more times than I really should have been, so letting loose at Invesco Field was pretty easy even without the benefit of alcohol (it was a dry convention).
Striking an emotional balance was a bit more difficult for me because I really was and am not overly enthusiastic about Barack Obama, but I also didn't want to seem so detached that night at Invesco as to betray my true feelings about Obama, which might very well have earned me a sound beating from my seat mates.
I don't know who is responsible for scheduling speakers, but the speeches I heard were all so motivational and, for the most part, really interesting. I don't remember them all but I do remember Bill Richardson and I remember how much the crowd loved him. When he came out the applause went on for nearly twenty seconds.
Mom was less impressed with Richardson because she had lived New Mexico while he was Governor and, according to her, he didn't do anything noteworthy while she was there. But clearly, Bill Richardson is a very popular person and I suspect for a lot of the people it was he, and not Obama, who had been their first choice.
The music was also carefully chosen to echo Obama's theme of "hope" and "change." From Sheryl Crow's "A Change Will Do You Good," to the music played during what were most likely commercial breaks, all the music was precisely orchestrated to advance Obama's political message and to get the crowd amped up for the big speech later in the evening. Kind of makes me wonder what the music will be like at the Republican National Convention.
Songs like U2's "Beautiful Day," The Supremes' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and even All-American Rejects' "Move Along," for us younger voters, had people singing along, dancing in the aisles, doing the wave, and just plain having a lot of sober fun, though mom swears that one of our seat mates must have had a hidden flask of whiskey because she was a little too fired up.
There were a few tense moments for me, like when a couple of airplanes flew too far into the restricted air space, but the FBI helicopter circling the stadium quickly sent them flying in the opposite direction. Oddly enough, I didn't feel that protected by the scores of Secret Service men patrolling the stadium or by the sharp shooters perched along the very top of Invesco Field.
At one point, several nicely dressed men walked purposefully into our section, stopped a few rows down from us, went a few seats in, and deftly plucked an abandoned backpack from underneath a seat. That was interesting. I wonder, what was in that backpack? All I saw peeking through the unzipped top were some iPod headphones, but maybe they were super spy James Bond exploding iPod headphones.
Anyway, right after the suspicious backpack incident I quickly became distracted. A reporter interviewed my mom, Michelle Obama and Jesse Jackson walked by, separately of course because JJ is so out of favor with the Obamas right now; it sucks to be him. I saw a friend from law school and we chatted a bit about the Democratic party and its future; my friend doesn't know I bat for the other team.
But most surprising of all is that I actually had a lot of fun because the last night of the DNC was one big party where old friends, new friends, celebrities, Democrats, Independents, Green Party people, and, yes, even jaded Republicans came together and for one night forgot about all their differences.