Sunday, February 03, 2008

Obamamania: To Barack Or Not To Barack, That Is The Question

Hi everyone. This post is going to fall more under the "musings" part of the blog and is unrelated to 360. Super Tuesday looms less than two days away and I find myself still undecided. If you've ever read this blog, you know I'll obviously be voting democratic. When it comes to policy, both candidates on my side of the aisle are pretty similar, which means this election is going to come down to the person. Much has been made over the months of race, gender, and experience. I can't really say any of those things will sway my vote. I'm ecstatic at the idea of our first female or African American president, but when it comes to my own personal vote, those things haven't factored into the equation. And while experience is definitely important, someone who is new to the game can surround themselves with experienced people and be just as effective as someone who's been in Washington for decades. But more on all this in a bit.

Saturday night I went to the Barack Obama rally at the Edward Jones Dome here in St. Louis. I saw Obama once before in late 2006 when he was campaigning for Claire McCaskill, but at that time a lot of America still didn't know his name. This was different. Much different. The line to get into the dome stretched blocks upon blocks and I couldn't even tell you how far we walked just to find the end of the line. I've never seen anything like that. Inside, they had pulled up the dome's turf (or whatever they play on--I know nothing about football) and everyone crowded onto the floor. Unfortunately, this was a bit of poor planning because the emptiness of the stands (which for some reason we were not allowed to sit in) really messed with the acoustics of the room and made it almost impossible for people in certain spots to hear. But I'm sure if Obama is our next president and accomplishes what he has promised, the acoustics of the room will soon fade from my memory of that night.

This is what I will remember: A crowd of 20,000 strong. Young and old. Black and white. All looking for a change and maybe a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I think my favorite part might have been all the parents lifting up their kids when Obama came out, wanting them to get a glimpse of history. His speech was familiar; the regular stump speech with a few tweaks here and there, but the crowd still ate it up. The man is a rock star. He got 20,000 people to come see him fairly late (he didn't start his speech until about 9:45 PM) on a cold Saturday night during Mardi Gras (St. Louis holds the second largest Mardi Gras in the nation). That's pretty big, if you ask me. Even on the Metrolink ride home, except for the inebriated (I told you it was Mardi Gras, remember?), all talk was about Obama.

Mid post randomness: Outside the dome there were scattered pockets of Ron Paul supporters. I know I say this a lot, but they really are everywhere! After Obama spoke we hung out until the place almost cleared out and watched the media for a bit. I thought I saw Dana Bash (who I don't think even covers Obama) doing a stand up, but it turned out to be a local reporter. Also, I almost got interviewed for Japanese television. And yes, I thought of 360. The crew went up to the woman standing right next to me and I quickly fled. I think I'd like the opportunity to humiliate myself on the local level before going international, thank you very much. I like to joke that if it was possible, I'd sell my 15 minutes of fame on eBay.

Back to my decision, I'm a realist. No matter who is our next president, they're going to have a hard road ahead of them. Hope is a great thing, but the problems of our country are huge, and if we're going to get any change in Washington, we need a fighter. Hillary Clinton has had more crap thrown at her than anyone I can think of and yet she remains standing and ready to fight some more. But the thing is, while I generally like Hillary Clinton and think she would probably make a good president, I think I want to vote for Obama. I just wish I could completely believe that what he's selling is more than just a dream. Because when he speaks, I think that maybe as a country we're going to be okay, and that's a feeling I lost long ago, somewhere between the illegal invasion of a country that never attacked us and the abandonment of an American city.

This post has gotten longer than I meant it too, so I'll wrap it up. Obviously my pluses and minuses for each candidate are more complicated than one blog post will allow me to explain, but the fact that I'm trying to decide between two good candidates is a nice problem to have. Even on the other side, sure, there's some pockets of crazy, but I don't think any evil like what we've got now. One thing I know for sure, George W. Bush will never be on the ballot again, and I think that's a win for everyone.

Any other undecideds?


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