Monday, February 11, 2008

Live Blogging from Obama Rally in Maryland

Barack Obama is speaking today at University of Maryland - College Park. So, I thought it might be a good time for my first attempt at live blogging. It will be an amateur effort (full of typos and mis-spellings) but, hey! It might be fun.

This imports to Facebook, but it only does it once so if you want the updates you have to do what the smart kids do--Click "view original post" or just click here.

Before 10 am (in 20 degree weather, outside the Comcast Center at the University of Maryland - College Park):





10:06 am: Is Earth, Wind and Fire playing? Is this a party or an Obama rally/speech? And I am loving how all of the volunteers are my age or younger, all colors, all races, men and women. I am totally with it.


10:28: According to the authorities, Comcast Center seats 17,950 people. It is about 1/3 full right now and the doors were supposed to open at 10:30 (they opened early). Will Obama really fill up this entire stadium? I'm an Obamaholic but I've got a skeptical/cynical streak still...

10:29: Obama isn't supposed to speak until 12:30. There is a DJ (yes, with two turntables and a microphone) setting up on the stage. Again I ask--party or rally?

10:30: Now (the time that the doors were supposed to open) people are SWARMING in....yes, SWARM. Maybe he will fill up the entire damn stadium. Fie on the skeptics....

10:42: Just talked to a colleague who is in line now....by the Campus Recreation Center. Anyone who goes to UMCP knows how far that is. Anyone who doesn't....

11:30: The Obama party is filling up fast. People were doing the Wave not too long ago, and concessions is definitely in business. I could use a hot dog. Oh well. Since reading is a no-go (although I did bring Roland Barthes Mythologies with me just in case) I am going to catch up on my blog surfing. Here are a few to chew on by Marc Lamont Hill, Rikyah over at J&J Politics, and the oh so fabulous with her Chi-town-ness Michelle Obama (thanks Ti!). Melissa "Gangsta" Harris-Lacewell also has her responses to Dr. Hill on the same blog....follow the left hand navigation.

11:41: Star-Spangled Banner just got freaked by a woman whose name I don't remember. And I didn't know that folks yell "O" when they do the "O, Say does that star spangled banner still wave...." Then Mary J. Blige comes on right after (really, Obama!) and the ladies behind me start jammin: "Oh we're gonna be jammin in the White House. We're turning the White House BLACK!" TWI, I am TWI....

11:45: Now T. I. Is on???????? I wonder if Hil's new campaign manager would play T.I. at their rallies....

11:52:


And people are still filing in. The lady next to me asked if I'd seen Hilary speak. I haven't, but I would like to. Too bad she doesn't seem to come into the D.C. Metro area. She's somewhere in Bowie today I think....

12:17: Someone in the pool of folks on the ground floor just got arrested. Check the MD news in a few hours and it might just be on there. Or on the Diamondback. Makes me wonder what he did but he might just have mouthed off to Secret Service. I mean, come one UMCP undergrads--You ain't know? This isn't your normal Comcast event and your tuition paying grandfather doesn't mean sh*t....

12:37: Man the Obama campaign knows what they are doing. Antoine from the Wire opened and introduced Sterling Brown, the campus representative/leader who did his spiel. Yeah, he's about my little sister's age. Two pre-teens behind me made a rather unfavorable remark about the young man and their mom hushed them: "You know what, he's a leader. You hear me. Pay attention to that--a leader."

After he stepped off the stage, people began shouting for Obama to come out--until the "Yes, We Can" video began playing on the screen. Question: How do you get a 20,000 seat stadium to shut up? Answer: Make half of them well up in tears. Yeah, I'm not exaggerating. Thanks will.i.am.

Everyone began shouting alongside the vid, cheering....if you came into Comcast not wanting some of that Obama Koolaid....I can tell you right now, you are getting thirsty....

12:55: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is out here prepping the crowd and emphasizing my favorite thing about Barack--"He is a uniter, not a divider." And reppin the record: 5 state primaries and caucuses won just this weekend and a 5-10 point lead over John McCain. Is Hillary mentioned? No. She's not even in the conversation. I like that. (Sidenote: Behind Gansler is a white guy holding the sign "Barack is my Homeboy." Indeed.)

Gansler reminds us that our children will ask us one day: "Where were you?" Can I just say I am glad I am not in section? Yeah.....

[Added at 1:23 courtesy of the comments: Chris Wilhelm introduces Obama, but by now the crowd is restless and shouting him down at intervals. I remember thinking that if they play T.I. "Bring 'em Out, Bring 'em Out" I will get up and dance!]

1:07: OBAMA is out. Can you say flashing lights? And in the space of five minutes he has already referenced Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the pundits: "Who have been rifling through my kindergarten files." Yeah I know, sir. I know.

1:12-1:17: He is hitting his points so well I almost wonder if he is making this campaign or is the campaign making him. Besides mentioning the issues (health insurance, education, environment, special interests) he is emphasizing change, emphasizing taking the nation in a new direction, he is talking about the audacity of hope that he's inspired and received from young people, the importance of people "you and you" taking the nation back in their hands, wanting truth from political leaders....Is he reading my mind?

I am trying to stay cynical, but it is getting hard....I am waiting for him to not be who I want and need him to be but everything he says is just right. Not because he is some "messiah." But because he is inspiring others to be the change they wish to see in the world...

1:19: Church-Party-Rally. Call and response is in full effect at the Comcast Center....

1:24: "They are all our children" - Obama talking about education and his examples aren't petty: East L.A. and on the "Native American" reservations. He is not afraid of mentioning any demographic which I find gratifying considering how easily Senator Clinton likes to subsume w women of color into "women." But then he talks about education tax credits. Hmm....I'm going to need something more substantial than that, something more structural....There is a reason, after all, why there are more prisons than schools in some areas--which he does mention when talking about his time canvassing in South Carolina....

1:31: "As President of the United States, my job will be to keep you safe. And I won't hestiate. I won't hesitate to strike if that is what is required." And that reminds me of something I saw somewhere (will look it up later when I'm not trying to keep up with his speech) about whether or not "really need a black face as the face of imperialism in the world?" Or something of the sort. And yet, he then talks about Iraq. Now I'm a fan of pulling out of Iraq. But is talking about how he won't hesitate to "strike" in the same breath as pulling out of Iraq as much of a contradiction as McCain talking about veteran rights and health care while also saying he is anti big government and government spending?????

1:32: Maryland Women's Basketball Team just came in!!!!!! FEAR THE TURTLE!!! And did Barack notice? Shoot, he stopped his whole speech to give them props. And then started again without a beat: "John F. Kennedy said, 'We should never negotiate out of fear and we should never fear to negotiate...." (Correct me if I get that quote wrong) That's at least the third famous leader he's referenced.

1:33: Darfur! Nuff said.

1:36: "I'm looking forward to mixing it up with John McCain." So am I Barack, so am I.... "I am happy to have an argument with the Republicans. Not only that, I think I can get some Republican votes." And points out some in the audience. Crowd cheers wildly. No animosity here. Is it really possible to unite this country across party lines in this way? Drink some of the Obama Koolaid, I think you will believe too....and even if you don't, hey--isn't that what HOPE is about?

1:39: Oh come on! When he talks about being raised by a single mom, suddenly he gets fewer claps. CLAP THAT MAN UP!!!!! SINGLE MOM LOVE!!!!!! Hardest working women in America....Makes my ears perk up though that the crowd didn't give too much love for that. Is it the crowd? The image? More on this maybe in another separate post...I've got to "marinate" on it....

1:41: "Nothing in this country that was worthwhile has ever happened except that somewhere dared to hope." Examples: American Rev, Emancipation, World War II, Civil Rights Movement, Labor Movement--"THAT'S WHAT HOPE IS." Crowd on its feet again, clapping like crazy. Me--I'm a historian. He isn't wrong but....there's ambiguities in all of those man....and I know, I know. That is my skeptical-cynical side appearing again....Makes me wonder if complex ideas about politics, society and history are just not compatible with political speeches, rallies and soundbites.

1:45: Dramatic finish--If you will vote for me on Tuesday, we can change this country--we can change the world. No quotes on that cause I'm not sure its verbatim. The crowd loses its mind. Everyone is geeked, everyone is smiling, everyone is happy. Obama is shaking hands with the crowd now as people begin to file out. I am sitting still, on the marinade....at the end of the day, I can saw I'm not awestruck, but I've lost no love either. Like I said not too long ago--he is just what I want/need/root for him to be. And I believe more and more that this man is going to win the nomination....

But more to come in a separate summary post. I've gotta get out of the Comcast Center.

Thanks for tuning in! Happy Monday!

12 comments:

tlove said...

I am oh so diggin' the MAP and the DJ. Go OBAMA!!!

Anonymous said...

awesome. keep live blogging away!

tlove said...

Aw man. That video is HOTNESS!!! A stroke of pure genius. Thank you Will.i.am!

Is he there yet, is he there yet? He must be. That would explain your silence...

Anonymous said...

There is no live feed anywhere on the web - you're it! We're hanging on every word.

Anonymous said...

cnn.com has a feed.

Terp at Heart said...

Go to CNN.com/video and click LIVE VIDEO. You can watch it!

Don't forget to mention Chris Wilhelm, the leader of the University of Maryland for Barack Obama steering committee and also a junior at Maryland.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this. I hope he talks about standing up for Democratic values and not just uniting with Republicans.

Kismet.4 said...

Thanks for the comments and stopping by! I was trying to find Chris's correct spelling--I'll edit that time stamp!

And yes, definitely, catch it on CNN too!!!!

Anonymous said...

Keep doing your thing Kis! I'm leaching somebody's wireless in Philly. I'm not rude enough to stream video (from CNN) so you're all I've got. I went to see him in Wilmington, DE already, but I love to get other peoples' accounts. Folk just don't understand that to "get" the Obama movement, you just have to go see the man. Then you will get it.

-Brant in Philly

dk said...

Couldn't get into Comcast. I loved the blog.

Anonymous said...

This commentary was awesome - couldn't attend the rally but feel like I lived it through you. Thank you!

I'll be voting tomorrow!!

Kismet.4 said...

Thanks again for tuning in! Everyone get out and vote even if it isn't for Obama--Exercise your Right!