My First Political Rally

26 10 2008

I’ve never been a political person, as I always thought politics was a sideshow intended to keep some people busy. Of course, this is the worst possible way to treat the democratic process, and this current election cycle is having a profound impact on my view of politics and the democratic process in the United States.

I would still classify myself as a Ron Paul supporter. If you see what is happening in the financial sector these days, it was pretty obvious that Ron Paul knew what he was talking about. He is the only person who ran in the primaries that wanted to not only end the war in Iraq, but remove all United States occupation of foreign countries. That meant closing all foriegn military bases worldwide. Perhaps this would be a drastic step to some people, but one that is necessary. Other countries have embasys here, but no military presence, so why does the United States have almost 200 bases abroad? Not that I know about foreign policy, but I do know that all those bases cost money to maintain. And rather than spend the money outside the US, why not spend it here? I could go on and on about the American Empire, as my research has lead me down some very disturbing rabbit holes. Needless to say, I didn’t like what I found, and it has motivated me to at least try to participate so that my children will have a future without such problems.

So, as it was today, part of my journey toward being a patriotic citizen of the United States, I took the opportunity to check out the Obama Rally in Denver today. I am in Denver for a programming class, and decided to use the time to recharge my batteries. I set up this trip nearly two months ago, and only last night, after trying to figure out what to do, did I find out that Barack Obama was going to be giving a speech at the Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver. I thought if nothing else, I would be able to hear what he has to say without media interruption, and I would be able to experience firsthand what all the fuss is about when it comes to political rallies, and take some cool pictures while I was out there.

Obama sign at rally in Denver, CO (10/28/08)

From my friend’s place, I took the lightrail to downtown, and in the process already ran into several nice people who were obviously voting for (or have already voted for) Obama. From there, it was on to the park, where a line that streched around several blocks awaited me. I forgot to bring my jacket because the forecast was supposed to be for nearly 70 degrees; it was 45 according to my iPhone. I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the civility of the crowd. Only after I looked at the Denver Post heading did I find out that 100,000 people attended the event; the single largest crowd to attend a political rally in the United States. I feel pretty humbled to have been part of it, even if I was just one amongst many.

I was in the back of the crowd the whole time. I didn’t even catch a glimpse of Barack Obama, however, I did hear his speech. While I can’t say that I was deeply moved, I was impressed by his few moments of candor with such a large audience. He repeated many of the political jibber jabber that goes on in a campign without being demeaning or attacking his opponent below the belt, or with subjects that don’t really matter.

He arrived, he talked, and he left, and I was at least part of the moment. It’s not much, but it was still an impressive sight to behold. Prior this his appearance, but after his opening acts had completed their local campaigning, the sound of people chanting his name was something that I hadn’t heard before. I heard this faint chant of “obama” coming from somewhere. In less than a second, it grew lound enough that I could determine the source: the amphitheater where he would soon be speaking. And shortly after that, I could truely hear the chant in full blast. It was very impressive.

In all, I would say, that I am still a Ron Paul supporter. If the republicans had the wisdom to nominate him instead of their current nominee, well, things would be different. However, I actually took the time to read (listen) to Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, and was agast to find out that his struggles as a youth, as a working class man, as a parent and as a human were so close to my own, that it was clear that if I couldn’t vote for the guy to who made the most sense, well, I could vote for the man who at least symbolicly represents me in the government. And, that is perhaps the reason why he is so popular. The nation can see in him a little piece of themselves, somewhere. From the minority angle, to having only mom around, to having to fight for everything he ever had, this is the story of most American voters.

I’m not a drastically different person after all this political soul searching. I am moved after seeing so many people dedicated to the cause of getting one man elected to the office of President of the United States. I see their enthusism, and somehow find it containgious. I will continue to push myself to particiate in the greatest experiment in the history of the world, as it is the only way it will succeed. I want to continue to set a positive example and leave a good foundation for the future, for my children, and for everyone else’s children. That is what drives me these days, and it seems, that is what drives Barack Obama, and that is why he gets my vote.