Yes, today I saw the man himself, the next President of the United States, Barack Obama. Very exciting. Last time I saw a presidential candidate was Dukakis. That didn't turn out so well.
But the last time I cared about a presidential candidate was when Carter was running for reelection. This is the first time I do when I can vote. Indeed, it's the first time I contributed to a campaign, however paltry the amount. He's the first candidate I've seen since Carter who takes his faith seriously, and lets it influence how he acts. Obama's different.
The evening began with some righteous West African dancing, to some seriously intense drums. Very impressive. Wish I could say the same for the act that followed. I think Obama was caught in Seattle traffic, and they needed someone to fill in, so they decided on the only guy who could play guitar backstage. Seriously, I wouldn't be dissing him like this if it had been one, or even two songs. We sat through five songs of a guy who couldn't hit a single note on key, singing five romantic songs about how he couldn't get the girl. Seriously. It was a total let down from the wonderful dancing.
Then Congressman Adam Smith- yes the same one who attempted to help me out with Homeland earlier this year- introduced Obama, sharing how he was a long-time supporter. I like Mr. Smith more and more.
I was maneuvering myself into the stage dive area, where most of us were standing, foregoing the seats in the back of the WaMu Theatre of Qwest (hashek) Field. Finally after a couple of false starts the main man came out to work the crowd on stage, specially chosen to represent all of Seattle. (Though I think we're actually more diverse than what was represented on stage.
It was truly a thrill to hear Obama share. That's how it was- more sharing than Clinton's listening, Gore's lecturing, or Jesse Jackson's preaching. It felt somehow intimate, and very honest, very genuine. There were moments of fire, but most of it was a man speaking to inspire quiet hope, and give a concrete plan of action. Sure, there weren't all the details, but it wasn't the venue for that. It was enough that there were plans.
Obama got the most wild applause when he spoke out against the current administration, or when he spoke about the war- against it, and his long term actions in support of peace. And there was even a heckler in the audience, only three people from me. Obama's hecklers are evidently people who call for the impeachment of Cheney, and sing while doing it.
In person, Obama lived up to his first name- that of power-blessing. And he holds a promise to be that for our nation.