Sunday, February 3, 2008

On A Cold Saturday Morning, I Only Get Up At 6:00 AM For Three People.

Two of those people actually came from my uterus, and the other one is this man:

And, yes, I took that photo my own self. And, yes, I'm still a little delirious about it.

Early on a wintry, February Saturday, Senator Obama spoke to a crowd of about 15,000 here in Boise. Our arena was full, the fullest it has ever been, filled to rafters with people and more spilling out into all the hallways. Outside, between 3,000 and 4,000 people stood in the bitter cold, unable to get in.

I can't adequately explain how it felt to be at this rally. I live in a state that is overwhelmingly conservative, so conservative that national Democratic candidates never campaign here, let alone personally visit for an impromptu rally open to the general public. When you live and work and worship and raise children in a place where you often feel markedly different from the majority, it has a way of wearing you down, little bit by little bit. Sometimes, you feel like a misfit, a malcontent, or a weirdo. Bit by bit, your spirit is dampened, your tongue quieted, and your vague hopelessness becomes startlingly comfortable.

Saturday, as I looked around the arena, watching thousands, literally thousands, of people pour in through every door, feeling their heat and energy and rumblings, my eyes welled up. Who'd have imagined this? Who could have guessed?, we asked again and again. Certainly not I.

Here's a hobbled-together view of one small portion of the crowd:

I have never seen anything like it, truly.

As to the speech, I won't go into much detail because 1) Obama covered his standard platform and talking points, 2) he was every bit as charming and eloquent as you've heard and 3) this is not a political blog.

But, if this were a political blog, I would tell you this: I am re-energized and filled with a cautious, tender hope. I know the nay-sayers and pundits enjoy criticizing Obama for appealing to nebulous things like hope and change and empowerment, but let me say: this man speaks with conviction and honesty and a generosity of spirit that is truly rare among politicians. And, above all, this is a man who makes me dare to believe in the potential greatness of this nation and the unrealized power of its people. I believe him to be not just a good candidate with a sound platform, but a great man, capable of making a clean and emphatic break from the cronyism, cynicism, deception and special interests that have marked the most recent chapters of American history.

I am hoping against hopes that I will have the opportunity to vote for this candidate on Tuesday, in November, and, hopefully, in a distant November that exists in a better America, in a better world.

And I refuse to feel bad about hoping.

(Full photo set over here.)

29 comments:

bluemountainsmary said...

I want him to win, I want him to win, I want him to win.

And I am Australian!! We just elected a Labour Government here (similar to your Democrats) and I think alot of people based their vote on hope. Kevin Rudd is as brilliant as your Mr Obama and has just announced a two day meeting of a thousand minds to harness ideas from our nation. How cool is that?

Press here are calling your election the most important and most interesting in a lifetime for Americans.

Must stop - you have me all awake now and I need to go to bed!

I AM VERY MARY said...

Hope is my favorite four-letter word.

MamaBird said...

So amazing! How cool is it that you saw him live? A friend of mine in Iowa was a precinct captain for him and sent me this: http://www.dipdive.com/ if you haven't seen it, she's right, it's beautiful.

bipolarlawyercook said...

Fabulous photos, fabulous words, fabulous renewal.

Jan said...

Way, cool. Great you got to see him. Ever since I read Dreams of My Father, years ago, I've wanted to vote for him for president.

Mrs. G. said...

"And, above all, this is a man who makes me dare to believe in the potential greatness of this nation and the unrealized power of its people."

If that doesn't seal the deal, I don't know what does. The idea of being excited and exhilarated to vote is a beautiful thing...as is Mr. Obama himself.

standing still said...

What political blog entry? I didn't see any political blog entry. All I saw was another tiny moment. Tiny hope. And, perhaps the wonderful possibility that our next president will be able to speak in complete sentences.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You are one lucky "Mama for Obama." (I'm pretty sure I got that from you!).

What could be more important to blog about than the future of our nation?

MommyKnows said...

The first time I saw Obama speak (on TV) at the Democratic Convention 4 years ago, I was blown away at his eloquence and charisma. That man can speak!

As a Canadian, watching from the sidelines. I sure hope things work out differently at the polls this year!

Great post!

Melanie said...

Everyone:

Thanks for being kind to my tender little hopes. I get really anxious when I post actual opinion instead of the usual drivel.


Standing Still:

Ha! I forgot to add: Yes, he talks real good, too And without a prompter. Imagine?

coolbeans said...

Where I live, you're not even allowed to wear the color blue.

This is awesome.

Amy the Mom said...

Seriously? He did the speech without a teleprompter? Awesome. I'm still undecided, but leaning very much in his direction-for every reason you so eloquently wrote. I can't see us repeating the political pattern that has dominated this country for the last twenty years. Enough already.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Awesome! How close were you sitting to him? I remember watching him give the speech at the DNC in '04 (on tv) and having that same overwhelming feeling of hope and inspiration.

Very cool!

Kammie said...

I have to say that I got choked up reading what you wrote. Having come from the "reddest of the red states" to now living in a deep blue state, I am encouraged to see Idahoans turn out in force. Obama is about hope and we all need hope now more than ever.

P.S. - I just mailed off my ballot to vote for him in our primary :-)

sweetisu said...

Awesome!!!!! He's very motivating indeed.

I haven't voted that many times, but I have never voted Republican. And I'm not going to start now.

Life As I Know It said...

Very cool. I bet he is an amazing speaker. This country is definitely ready for change.
It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings...

Loralee Choate said...

Hey, I think it's grand that you got him out by you.

The beauty of it all is different opinions.

Ophelia Rising said...

Amen, sister! Here's hoping...

And what wonderful pictures, by the way!

dkuroiwa said...

What an awesome way to spend a day..for that, I, too would wake up that early!!
As the political "blacksheep" of my family, I will say here and now that I have joined the "Mama's for Obama" group!
I'm with Mary...hope is one of my favorite words too!!

Jennifer said...

Envy! Glad you got to see him. HOPE is good.

Lisa Milton said...

Obama in Boise???

Boise? Not to sound too terribly mean, but I want hopeful speeches too.

*deep breath*

Great post & nice shots. I'm being swayed...

zoloftmom said...

Change you can believe in! Look! You're believing!

I must say that I am more excited, hopeful about the future of our country than I have been in such a long time. It's so encouraging to hear that others (you! Idaho!) are feeling the same way.

Let's keep hoping! Tomorrow may bring amazing things!

merlotmom said...

I am on the fence...yesterday leaning toward Obama, today toward Hillary, now, after reading your moving post, I'M SO CONFUSED!!!!!! But I'm so grateful that we have real candidates this time around, we surely need one after our now lame-duck LOSER.

Nora Bee said...

Wow! What an amazing chance that was. I love him too. And he won in your state! Yay!

Lisa V said...

We went to that speech, and to the caucus last night. It was completely incredible.

Sojourner said...

Yeah! He was in Omaha today. Thousands of people waited 3 hours in the cold for him. He filled our civic auditorium to the rafters. I only got to see him on television- I was working. But they televised his speech live as it was happening and I could feel the excitement across the airwaves and across town! HOPE! Haven't had this kind of hope since Jimmy Carter.

Claire B. said...

I completely understand the bluebie in a red state feeling, as I lived in a couple of them for most of my adult life. It is so nice to be surrounded by like-minded people, as I am now. Obama swept our state yesterday. At our caucus, I felt like the most unpopular girl in school as I sat, in the elementry gym, at a lunch table, one of the only non-Obama- sticker-wearing freaks in the place. I'm giving up the dream of a woman president, and I'm trying to become ok with it. At least she's not losing to an idiot. That would be beyond acceptable!

Mike Golch said...

I feel the same way the only thing that may doom him would be his inexperience in forein affairs,that is what doomed Jimmie Carter to a one term presidency.
He brough hope as well to the white house.

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