I am really a terrible person, because I went to an Obama rally on Thursday night and forgot my phone and my camera. Thus I have no tangible proof that I was there, in Portsmouth, Ohio. It was pretty nice — we went in with the Senator, so we didn’t have to wait on line, etc. We just sort of chatted with the Secret Service and walked in. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to shake Obama’s hand — our spot was a little off the main circle that he walked after he gave his speech.
In any case, I was moved by the crowd there. Portsmouth is in way, way southern Ohio — nearly Kentucky. The hundreds of people there were so diverse, from college students to large black families, to labor folks. Everyone was pretty small town America, and it struck me how poorly the media categorizes this portion of the population. There were plenty of folks there who “looked” like they should be voting for McCain, who “looked” like rednecks, or what have you. And yet they were staunchly, inspiringly Democrats.
We must have waited for two hours, while a serious of local speakers came on the stage, followed by Senator Brown, Governor Strickland, and finally Obama. Probably more than anyone else in the crowd, save for the Press Corps, I’ve been satiated by this man. I watch TV all day; I read every story there is to read; I am as well-informed on the campaign as it is possible to be.
But when Obama walked out, I broke into tears.
There he was ten feet from me! Saying all of the eloquent and necessary things I’ve heard him say a million times, cheered on by this really wonderful crowd. We hooped and hollered, most notably at the Iraq War sections of the speech.
After the speech was through, we walked across the street to the Ramada Inn, where Obama, the Press Corps, and the Senator were staying the night. Obama slipped inside, waving to the 10 or so of us cheering for him, and then we watched the press go in groups of 2 or 3 up to their rooms, loaded down with Mac laptops, gigantic cameras, bags the size of elephants — all making plans to come back down and get drunk at the bar.
Suffice it to say, it was well worth the hour and a half drive down there.