I hope there are going to be many parts to this story! Last week (March 21), Barak Obama visited Oregon. Luckily, we were aware of this event in advance to register for a free ticket; the tickets 'sold out' within 24 hours. I really wanted to go... and after debating in my head whether or not I could swing it on a cold Friday morning, I decided this is a rare opportunity. Ranjeewa (love him!) said he'd stay home with Anjali while I set out to see the Man. I left the house at 6:55 am (really early for me) and caught a bus and the light rail to the Memorial Coliseum. The gates opened at 7:30 and Obama was not even supposed to be in the building till 9:30 am. At 7:20 I was in line along with thousands of people sandwiched between retired grandparents and 20 something youngsters from South Bend, IN. Then I got close to the gate and stood next to a woman and infant from Vancouver, WA. After chatting with her for a while, I noticed she was wearing dog tags, and I just blurted "was your husband in the military?" And she said yes, turned her lips down, sighed and said "and he never came back". She had a SIX month old son in her arms. I fought hard to hold back tears.... I hadn't seen Anjali that morning.
Once inside I settled on a mezzanine seat and was amazed at the 13,000 other people who also made it that morning. There were some pumped up introductions, people did the wave and chanted "yes, we can", "O-bama" just like it were a Springsteen concert. Bill Richardson and Obama came out together and the crowd went WILD. Bill gave a nice introduction, and endorsement, before Obama began to speak. I'd heard him speak before on TV and the internet, so nothing was a surprise... I was there for the crowd effect. And it was great. During a pause in his speech a woman shouted "I love you!" and he paused and said "I love you back", the crowd went wild, again. It was just amazing to see so many people of all walks of life, ethnicities etc. I met a former retired, black, cancer surviver, co-worker of mine, parents who kept their kids from going to school and took the day off to come see him, and even Anjali's pediatrician and her partner. It was really moving and I get why they call it the 'Obama effect' and I couldn't help thinking "wow... if he doesn't get the Dem. nomination what a waste of opportunity". Hope, yes we can. I do believe this guy can really make a change. He comes across as sincere and so many people feel that way. We need an outsider, not an insider. Go, Obama!
How cute is this? Ranjeewa wont let me do this to his hair!