Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dallas for Obama

Maggie says:
The Barack Obama rally in downtown Dallas yesterday was amazing. I'm not really talking about the candidate himself, though. Yes, he was phenomenal, actually much better than I expected, to be honest. Obama confirmed my decision to support him for the Democratic primary, where shockingly, my vote will actually mean something on March 4.

What really got me yesterday, though, was the people. I was floored by the crowd, by the diversity, by the high spirits, and by the sheer optimism of the nearly 20,000 people who came out to hear this man speak yesterday. We waited in line for hours - folks taking vacation days like I did, folks coming off their shift and still wearing hospital scrubs, folks wearing their uniforms to go straight to work after the event, school-kids playing hooky or there with an organized group, families towing kids and grandkids, retirees holding hands... The group had it all.

17,000 people made it into Reunion Arena to hear Obama yesterday. 2,000 more were stuck outside. Most of us waited in line for at least three hours prior to sitting down, but you didn't see a grimace anywhere. You saw grins, and heard chants, and took part in conversation, and felt good about the world.

When I think about who I'm supporting and why, to me it's all about the other people who believe in this candidate. I've attended my fair share of political events over the years, and I have never seen a crowd as diverse as yesterday's. I cannot overstate what that means to me personally and politically. If we believe - and I think we do - that resting all our hopes on one man is dangerously naive, and that we should instead rest our hopes on the millions of people maintaining hope within themselves that change is possible, well then... I saw it yesterday. There's no question about it. There is one candidate in my mind who can unite people beyond their entrenched positions and spark people out of their disengagement, and it's Barack Obama.

Here's a sampling of the text messages I sent out while in line yesterday, with a couple of photos. For more, go to my flickr page or shoot me an e-mail.

  • "DART train on the way here full of Obama '08 gear!"
  • "Doubt I'm going to get in with this crowd... but the energy is out of control here."
  • "This crowd gives me huge hope for Texas!"
  • "I'm seriously tearing up watching all the people go by, so many different types... A group of enormously jacked Af-Am guys just went by in shirts that all said HOPE."
  • "Entire family in rodeo gear - rhinestone Obama's on everything! - just went by. 4-y.o. boy in Obama chaps!"
  • "Prep schoolers in plaid!"
  • "We haven't moved but the line has doubled behind us. Huge grins, amazing diversity. Decision to support Obama ringing true. Tens of 1,000s now waiting."
  • "Line moving out here, but too slow to know for sure - energy is phenomenal, and the diversity is amazing! Happy to be out here even if I don't get in! What's the scene like inside?"
  • "I think I just saw O's shadow waving from a police-escorted SUV. Crowd acted like it was Elvis. Line inching forward - we'll see!"
  • "I'm so optimistic right now... even for me!"
  • "I'm in!!! Far away, but direct view!"
  • "Emmitt Smith rocks."
  • "Hilarious - Obama was making fun of TX for having to deal with Bush being sent back here. Boos so dramatic he started cracking up laughing at the podium. He's great."
  • "The DART train back is like a Cancun party bus!"