Friday, August 29, 2008
Last night, I went to Barack Obama's nomination speech at Invesco Field and if I was an undecided voter, instead of a cold hearted Republican, then I would definitely vote for Obama because, y'all, the Democrats know how to get people excited and they have one inspirational and charismatic fellow leading them to the White House.
And that speech. We all know the date of the speech was no accident and for black people old enough to have heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak, people like my mother who marched with King as a little girl, the juxtaposition of Obama and MLK is obvious. Obama represents the dream MLK had for our people and Obama's presidency will be the fulfillment of that dream. So it's really no surprise that people were crying, nodding, and I swear I even heard someone shout out, "Preach on, brother Barack!" The mood last night at Invesco was all too familiar to this southern gal who spent a third of her life praying in Southern Baptist churches and under revival tents.
But let's begin at the beginning. Invesco Field threw open its gates at 1pm. Mom and I were on the light rail at 1:10pm when the announcement came over the loudspeaker that the train would not stop at the Invesco station because of extremely large crowds. Instead, everyone headed to Invesco Field had to disembark at the Auraria West station.
What our conducter didn't tell us was that the end of the line for Invesco Field was also at Auraria West, which meant there was a whole bunch of Obamaniacs baking under the hot sun and standing in a line roughly a mile long. We were easy pickings for vendors, political activists, and religious zealots who moved among us, waving "Jesus Saves" banners, spewing crazy talk about redemption, and hawking Time for Change watches encrusted with cubic zirconia stones and Obama's face.
Most of us kept the line moving quickly but some good people, including my mother, fell prey to street vendors. Along the vendor route, mom purchased five buttons, two bumper stickers, and a hat; all this before we even entered the stadium. At one point, I had to take her by the arm and pull her away from a vendor who nearly had her in his clutches.
But once we got to the gates, everything else went so smoothly that it was pretty obvious the DNCC lied to people: community credentials were not tracked so closely or so thoroughly as to prevent resale. Our tickets were electronically scanned at two different checkpoints, but when I snuck a peek at the scanner the only thing I saw on the screen was "OK." I was never asked for my identification or any proof that I was even the person who registered the credential. And all the information I had painstakingly filled in on those small ass lines was treated to a cursory glance by another fresh faced Obamaniac. Also, there was no line for security, my bag went through the x-ray machine, I went through the metal detector (and was treated to the wand), but that was it. Over, done, and we were in our seats by 3pm.
The rest of the afternoon went something like this: speech, speech, speech, speech, musical act, speech, speech, musical act, speech, speech. Jennifer Hudson and Stevie Wonder were ah-may-zing, and Shawn Johnson was chipper as usual and bounced off stage after leading us in the pledge. But Will.i.am and John Legend had people swaying, crying, and babbling in tongues. Even I was so moved by their song that I now must have it for my iPod.
Then, it was time for Obama's speech and the crowd went wild. The applause and foot stomping was thunderous, almost deafening, and the flashbulbs were a wave of bright white lights, occasionally punctuated by the red light of an auto focus camera. I was caught up in the enthusiasm of 83,999 people because it was inside me. The energy was palpable, it was an electric current linking everyone together and once switched ON, it was not easily switched OFF through the will of one person.
And inside that moment when Barack Obama walked onto that stage and the energy level launched off the charts, everything was directed towards him - the applause, the lights, the ardent sign and flag waving - all of it was for Barack Obama because he IS the physical embodiment of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. And, despite my GOP political affiliation, for a significant space of time last night I was truly inspired by Barack Obama.