Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama Rally

Last night, I attended a Barack Obama rally in Madison at the Kohl Center. After enjoying beers and dinner with my co-workers Kim and Eric at BW3’s on State Street, we headed to the Kohl Center, where the rally was scheduled to take place. We waited outside the Kohl Center with hordes of other people in below zero temperatures for 30–40 minutes while security slowly allowed a trickle of people through the doors. Eventually, we got in and secured front row seats on the second balcony, directly behind the stage. The Kohl Center was completely full, with over 17,000 people. The rally was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’m so glad to have had the experience. It was seriously like a rock concert. Apparently the crowd was the biggest in Wisconsin history for a primary election appearance.

As heated competition continues between Clinton and Obama for the Democratic nominee, Wisconsin has become a hotly contested state, with next Tuesday’s primary closing in. This week alone, Madison has seen visits from Chelsea Clinton and Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak at an undetermined location on Thursday (my friends are joking that he will probably choose a sorority house). Wisconsin could go either way. The state has a large student population and a strong progressive tradition that will likely garner votes for Obama, but the large blue-collar vote will probably go to Clinton. The Obama camp is hopeful they will continue to build on eight straight victories, and last night’s lead change in delegate counts.

Obama definitely pumped up the crowd last night with his usual inspirational rhetoric. And he must have been excited after winning broad support in Tuesday’s Virginia, Maryland, and DC primaries. His speech lasted approximately 25 minutes and he spoke briefly about his promise to provide health care for all Americans, change the country’s energy policy, alleviate poverty, improve schools, and provide an annual $4,000 college tuition credit in exchange for community service or service to the country. He probably drew the most applause when he talked about his opposition to the war in Iraq and that President Bush would not be on the ballot this time around.

I am not generally interested in politics, but like many voters, was disenchanted by the results of the last presidential race in 2004. To me, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel in an inspirational candidate, like Obama, who has great potential to unite Americans, make real social change in Washington, and transcend barriers among parties, races, religions, incomes, etc. Most of all, we need a president who can make us proud to be Americans again.

No matter which candidate you endorse, it will undoubtly be a very exciting time in Wisconsin the next few days leading up to Super Tuesday.


Jackie said...

Good for you. Hopefully you'll be able to hear Clinton speak, and I don't mean Bill. Your smart enough to know, that they basically all say what you want to hear..... so you have to decide knowing that, who do you like the best. Don't forget to vote on TUesday. Hopefully you're already registered.

kelly said...

Ryan said...

We must have been sitting right by you. We were in the second level behind the stage too.