Monday, February 04, 2008

Obama Rally

I'm too tired to think of anything funny. I went to an Obama rally at the Edward Jones Dome Saturday, and it was anti-climactic. It was poorly planned, to begin with. We stood around, painfully, for two hours. It was very uncomfortable to be crowded by people like that - I developed a bit of claustrophobia in that crowd. Barack was tired, and I've heard everything he's said before. That's not a knock - they're called stump speeches for a reason. But I went with great enthusiasm and left with a sense of malaise, though a lingering feeling that maybe I'd just done something worth doing. And that's pretty much it - I went there to go there. I'm familiar with his policy positions, I'm voting for him tomorrow. I was too far away to feel much connection, and was too tired by the time he finally took the stage to emotionally invest myself in the moment. Political boosters are strange types. I've shied away from boosterism ever since I was six and my mom taped cardboard placards for Dukakis in the windows of our Mazda. That car, in the summer - it was like a Dukakis emblazoned tomb back there (which is probably how they would have defined his campaign, too).

Sure, I've been an enthusiastic liberal all along, getting into stupid and pointless arguments with the many conservatives at my high school and college. But I've always shied away from any actual involvement with the Democratic Party. It came to a head when I walked out of a college Democrats meeting at Marquette - they were so polite, and unexcitable. Too buttoned down. It looked and felt like a meeting for the College Republicans, but with a few more minorities. Maybe it's just a distrust of establishment figures (the people who micromanaged Al Gore's campaign, who foisted John Kerry on us, who told us Obama was too inexperienced to handle the Republicans).

Don't get me wrong, I'm very enthusiastic for Barack Obama and his potential presidency. I've sat transfixed in front of the television, deeply moved by his speeches after his historic wins in Iowa and South Carolina. But I wasn't feeling it Saturday. Maybe it goes beyond that - I was rather out of sorts with my friends, too. But should you be moved, anyway, by an event that, by design, discourages spontaneity? I went, I'm glad I went. I saw Barack Obama. The hope of a generation. Likely, I would have been greatly moved if he'd just won the Missouri or Illinois primary. But there I was, surly, asking why I couldn't be as I felt I should be.


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