Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yes We Can

Today, my mother and I walked through downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, to see and hear Joe Biden and Barack Obama speak in front of the J. Douglas Galyon Depot (i.e. the Amtrak station). It was a spectacular event, clearly firing up the crowd and vicariously, much of the Democratic base.

Yesterday, I'd come down to Greensboro in a Pullman coach car on Amtrak's Carolinan (train #79) from Alexandria, Virginia, arriving at the depot in the evening -- they were already setting up for today's speeches with temporary barriers, security details and Obama staffers and volunteers everywhere, despite the light rain.

Today, before Biden's opening stump speech, a friendly policewoman let us park down on Church Street, where we joined a long procession of positively charged people of all types and walked along, enjoying a spontaneous historical tour of Greensboro, a city of about 260,000, stopping briefly in front of the old Woolworth's off Elm Street where the famous 1960 civil rights sit-ins took place. We ducked into the Fincastle Diner diner to briefly regroup and then made it in time to hear (but not see -- there were some 18,000-20,000 Obama supporters in attendance, and about twenty wild-eyed McCain demonstrators outside the perimeter) Biden.

Just before Biden, the North Carolina A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine thunderously warmed up the crowd. Then Biden came out, promptly at 12:30.

Like a modern-day John Henry, Biden hammered away against McCain, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and then for Obama, noting the train depot behind him and quipping we needed Obama to help the USA "get back on the right track."

Next Obama came up and delivered a substantive meat and potatoes speech, his voice booming at what seemed twice Biden's volume.

We moved about fifty yards so we could see him clearly: he had his white shirt sleeves rolled up showing he was ready to get to work as President from day one. The crowd was enthusiastic and supportive, as if saying, "We're with you all the way!" (I should note that this was not like the Beatles -- people were excited but certainly not deranged in their responsiveness.)

About a fifth into his thirty or so minute speech, Obama said:

We don't need any more out-of-touch, on-your-own leadership in Washington. We need a President who will change this economy so that it finally works for your family. We need a President who knows that America's strength and leadership abroad depends on the strength of our economy at home. We need a President who will fight for the middle class every single day, and that's exactly what I'll do when I'm President of the United States.

He also made some extemporaneous jokes at the McCain campaign's expense. "He's been grabbing our signs, using our slogans . . . Pretty soon I'm gonna have to start saying I'm a maverick!”

Overall: A+ for organization, turnout, political theatre, positive energy, and substance. The Obama crowd and staff and police and EMS people were all very civilized, and even though we had to leave my Mom's umbrella (luckily it didn't rain) outside the secure perimeter, her umbrella was still there at the end, among maybe 100 others, carefully lined up.

I bear witness to People Power: Yes We Can.

Today's Rune: Harvest.


Charles Gramlich said...

Glad to hear that it was so positive. Good vibes.

Lana Gramlich said...

Obama looks about 20' tall in that picture. Kind of like an Obamazilla.
"...he had his white shirt sleeves rolled up showing he was ready to get to work as President from day one."
Of course, this has long been a social manipulation tactic, but I hope he's telling the truth & I hope he gets a chance to prove it. Unfortunately he's going to be inheriting a complete disaster, of course. :(

the walking man said...

I've always been of the mind that once I've decided whom to cast a ballot for and then cast it, it's done for me. I've completed my portion of the process.

Even as a committed union steward I never spoke to my crew about who to vote for but just to get registered to vote and then cast the ballot.

The real test of character is not what's said on a train platform but the first 72 hours of an administration. Then I will be able to determine for how much and for how long I am going to be raped by Washington.

No matter who sits in the chair, it is going to be one rocky ride for the rest of the bus. And then when 8 years is done the sitter can get up and reap the rewards, while the rest of the bus goes on down the line of whatever road they took us on.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I sure hope we can. I support Obama, always have and always will. I do not like Biden. But I don't feel like I am voting against McCain when I vote for Obama. I went to a rally recently myself and got some people registered to vote. Obama has great presence; I just hope he wins and does about 1/2 of what he says when he is elected.

MacGuffin said...

Great post, Erik!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Does anyone remember the Keating Five?

I can believe this is such a close election.

Johnny Yen said...

Very cool! Must have been nice to be a little part of history.