Thursday, May 22, 2008
change we can believe in
"yes we can. yes we can. yes we can. YES WE CAN."
"o-ba-ma. o-ba-ma. o-ba-ma. O-BA-MA."
these shouts were almost deafening as he walked through the crowd and approached the stage. we arrived at 9:30, stood in a line that wrapped around the st. pete times forum (which is HUGE), and went through metal detectors before finding ourselves inside, pushed along by other people just as excited as we.
it was nasty hot outside; maybe it just felt so hot because i was wearing a baby on my stomach in a baby bjorn. every time we walked quickly, rhys got more and more excited. waving his arms, wiggling his legs. somehow knowing we were headed toward something great.
when we got inside, there was the decision of where to sit. we tried to find the best seats, so we chose the bottom level, closest to the floor. we ended up pretty far away from the stage, but thanks to my camera, which has a pretty amazing zoom for such a cheap digital camera, we got some very cool shots of the man.
but this is jumping ahead. we reached our seats at around 10:30, got settled in, and i was finally able to release rhys from his carriage so we could both cool off (and dry off) a little. we were both red cheeked and already exhausted.
then the wait began. we waited. and waited. and waited some more. little girls twirled on the floor, trying to make the time pass faster. one wore an oversized obama shirt.
some people got up and spoke. obama's finance manager, frank sanchez. someone else i can't remember. then more waiting. and more waiting. then representative robert wexler spoke. then he introduced representative kathy kastor...who talked WAY too long.
and then finally...the members of the press entered, carrying all their huge bags and huge fancy cameras. we even got a pretty decent shot of lee cowan from NBC news, who travels with obama. (funny thing: andrea mitchell actually discussed the story and not lee cowan last night! he must have been worn out...)
(he's the one on the right)
and then...finally (at about 12:45)...HE walked out. at first i was really overwhelmed. everyone was screaming, rhys looked very worried, rick even was showing a little excitement. :) i even listened to everything he said for a while, which is a big deal for someone like me who isn't usually very politically astute.
overall, his speech wasn't earth shattering. it was pretty run of the mill for obama. he spent most of his time saying how he was different from john mccain. my favorite part was when someone would shout "I LOVE YOU OBAMA!" from the crowd. i don't know how many times this happened, but at least three times he stopped what he was saying and said "i love you back." wow.
(i think this photo looks like one of the times he said this to the crowd, or he could have just been smiling. either way, very cool!)
and after all that waiting (a total of more than 3 hours) i was plain tired. tired of holding a baby, wanting to find a place to take a nap, hungry beyond description (it didn't help that the concession stands were open, selling disgustingly but yummy-looking and -smelling fried stuff). so we left right as he was telling everyone good bye from the stage.
we did manage to get a picture of rhys and obama before we left:
i am so glad i went. i feel like i am taking a little responsibility for being a citizen of the United States. i have spent the last 8 years (ok, maybe the last 6) really feeling strong negative feelings about our current "leader." (i use this term VERY loosely...) every time i see that man's face on the tv i get angry. i feel things i don't like. now that he's leaving, i want to be a part of the change obama talks about.
in some ways, i think we are all like rhys, in a baby bjorn, being carried along toward the future, and getting more excited by the minute. if you aren't, you should be. great things are going to happen!
Posted by kristi at 9:41 AM