Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama's Visit to Springfield

Here's my brother's piece on Obama's visit to Springfield yesterday:

Unite in Common Effort

We met some interesting people in line. A couple from Oklahoma began the day intending to drive to Pueblo, Colo, where they knew Obama was appearing. Then they learned he was coming to Springfield, and they changed plans because the drive was much shorter. Many others besides them came from Oklahoma, and still more arrived from Arkansas and Kansas and from Kansas City and Columbia and other parts of Missouri.

We spent about fours hours standing next to three nurses from St. John’s, where Jen works. One of them, in her mid-50s, said she had voted Republican all her life, along with the rest of her family. This election would be her first vote for a Democratic candidate for president. I asked her what the deciding factor was. She did not hesitate:


The nurse wondered about Palin calling attention to her daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. “I was a teen-age mother,” she said. “If my mother had paraded me out like that, it would have crushed me.”

Many people in cars drove by, mostly giving a thumbs up. One guy hollered pro-Obama slogans out one window, while his dog, a little daschund, barked loudly from the passenger’s seat.

A few McCain drivers cruised by, leering. They received boos from the crowd — even though, as we all know, We don’t need to boo, we just need to vote ...

I heard several people wearing blue official Obama cards say, over the course of the afternoon, that everyone in line would get in. I was extremely skeptical. The line was as thick as a lane of traffic and extended, depending on various reports, from one to two miles.

In any case, once we were inside, the stadium filled up slowly but steadily over three hours. Eventually, all the bleacher seats with good sightlines were filled, as was the playing field and sidelines. Even as Claire McCaskill was introducing Michelle Obama, the last of the crowd was filing in. It’s likely that everyone did get in, because there was still plenty of room in the far end zone. But that was the only empty area. The crowd was estimated at 30-35,000.

Everyone watching TV has probably heard his recent stump speech. He seemed to be really enjoying the delivery, especially the material about Dick Cheney’s endorsement and the annual earnings of plumbers.

I was most moved with a quieter part of his speech. It goes somewhat like this:

The government can only do so much ... each of us will have to do our part in out selves and our communities. ... We need to usher in a new era of responsibility and civility. We can disagree, but we can also summon the strength, grace and dignity to unite in common effort. ... All of us have a role to play in our (revival).

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