"Uh, NO," I answered immediately. "Why on earth do you wanna go to Dallas?"
"Obama is speaking at a rally."
"WELL. I'd consider letting you go, but only if I can come too!"
I've had a hard time figuring out for the last decade just "what I am". I'm not really Republican - I'm too liberal. But I'm not really a Democrat, either; I'm too conservative. Today, I figured it out: I'm Obamican.
Seriously, and I know this sounds completely programmed, but I'm ready for change. And I know this sounds completely rhetorical, but Obama inspires HOPE within me FOR that change.
I've known that Obama is an amazing speaker, so I was excited to experience that for myself. But what I was really interested in is what I HAVEN'T heard much of: what his plans are, what his ideas involve, and how he thinks he can make it all happen.
Dani and I and 3 friends (including another Mom) arrived at Reunion Arena in Dallas at 9:30. Already, the line snaked around and around and around the building, onto the lawn, and throughout the parking garage. We worried that we wouldn't gain entrance to the rally. Instead, after 2.5 hours in line, we scored seats directly behind the podium in the lower level. The fire department closed the doors when the arena reached capacity (17,000 people), and various reports have stated that 1000 people were left outside, unable to get in.
The energy was dynamic; you could FEEL the waves of electricity in the air. I sat back and watched the crowd, so very diverse, as old women and young men high-fived, as business people in suits and inner city kids in bagging pants mingled, as middle class Moms traded cameras with upper class spectators. And I felt the movement. I became PART of it. YES WE CAN. YES WE CAN. YES WE CAN.
I clapped my hands and waved my arms during Kool and the Gang's "Celebration". I mentally noted Eric Clapton's "Change the World" and thought, "That'll be the title of my page when I scrapbook this event. I danced my feet off during "Unwritten", which is one of my favorite songs anyway, but which I will now always associate with today's rally. And I felt the movement.
I rose to my feet when he spoke of college tuition assistance, involving students "giving back" with community service in exchange for college money. I cheered when he promised to "take away tax breaks from companies that are shipping jobs overseas". I pumped my arms when he said he'd find a way to keep the minimum raise on par with inflation. And I felt the movement.
But it was THIS statement that clinched it for me: after a moderate paragraph or five that highlighted the differences between him and Clinton, he said, "But you're not here because of what you're against. You're here because you have hope."
“There is a moment in the life of every generation when that spirit of hope has to shine through,” Mr. Obama said. “This is our moment. This is our time."
I'm making it official tomorrow, when I vote early.
I not only feel the movement.
I'm becoming part of it.
You can see Dani and me in a photo here. (photo #13)
I'd buy it for the scrapbook, but the Dallas Morning News wants THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS for it, and I don't have that kind of scratch. lol! (We're near the bottom left - I'm wearing a pink blouse over a black tank. Dani and one of her friends are sitting on the ground.)
Here are some of the photos that Dani took: