It’s a beautiful day in mid June. The sun is out and it is freakishly cold for summer being only four days away. Detroit, a crumbling city that’s stuck in the past and more like a ghost town is suddenly alive once again. Floods of people are walking past the tall art deco buildings at a rapid pace, and for a moment, I forget that this is not Chicago or New York.
The event that is bringing people together is something so much more significant than a baseball game. It is something real. Something that comes with hope and something that Detroit as well as the country has needed for far too long: A change.
A new hope.
In the humid tunnel connected to Joe Louis Arena, people from all walks of life stand still arm against arm waiting to be let in to hear the future President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, speak. The rich, the poor, the middle class, the white, the black, the Asian, etcetera, have smiles on their faces and there is a positive energy emanating through the uncomfortable tunnel.
Volunteers walk through asking us to sign petitions, asking us to register to vote and selling campaign buttons. It reminds me of the movement in the 60s. Mario Savio or Abbie Hoffmann could emerge at any moment
Two and a half hours later, we are out of the tunnel, entering inside. Security is tighter than it is at Detroit Metro Airport and we have to file one by one through metal detectors. Finally, all of our waiting is worth it and we enter into the arena, which today is cleverly titled “Detroit Barack City.”
Joe Louis, which seats 20,000, is completely full and the feel good energy races through my veins. I want to hold hands with the people around me and give a random person a hug. Even though I attend church on Sundays, I feel a kind of closeness with these strangers that I do not feel with my church brothers and sisters.
Governor Granholm is the first to speak. She praises Senator Hilary Clinton for her courageous campaign as a woman, discusses the creation of new jobs for people in Michigan through the use of alternative fuels and introduces…AL GORE!
That’s right. Al Gore. We were breathing the same air as the man who won the popular vote over George W. Bush in 2000, but who lost the presidency. The man who “invented the internet” was standing right in front of us.
Gore talked about his passion for saving the planet from melting ice caps and talked down the doings of the Republican Party as well as talked down the Bush administration amidst other important issues.
My whole body is tingling and I am numb with enthusiasm as former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, introduces the man who will save America: Barack Obama.
I am in such a deep trance that I hardly notice the crowds around me screaming, whistling and frantically clapping. Try to imagine Beatle mania times a million.
Obama is every ounce charismatic as he is on the television and every ounce genuine as he appears to be on televisions as well as how he sounds on National Public Radio. He is one of those people who have the innate capability to make you feel as if you know him, even if you have never met him.
Shivers pass over my body and I am freezing with goose bumps from excitement as Obama delivers his speech. He discusses his dreams for a national health care system, better education and creating more jobs. As I listen to this politician’s promises, I for once do not feel a sense of skepticism or deception.
The crowd chants, “Yes we can,” and exclaims, “We want change!”
After about 45 minutes of speaking to the good people of Detroit, Obama calls for the 20,000 of us to participate in grass root efforts for his campaign and unfortunately is on his way.
We feel two emotions. One of complete shock as our feet seem to be glued to the arena floor, but also one of empowerment with an undeniable urge to hurry and take action.
Exiting the arena, the positive energy is still abundant along with the feeling of hope that is fresh in our minds and our bodies.
I cannot wait until November 4th. It’s going to happen. I can feel it.
OBAMA ’08, BITCHES!!!