Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Day that Barack Obama Visited Fort Collins

We awoke much too early Saturday morning -- at 9 a.m. We woke up so early to go see Barack Obama, who was speaking in Colorado even though Colorado is a Red State.

Our son, Gogan, a high school senior and not quite old enough to vote yet, wanted to come along with us.

We told him we would be riding our bikes to the campus of Colorado State University where The Great Man would be speaking, and if Gogan wanted to come with us, he would have to ride a bike as well. This was a test. Gogan passed it with flying colors. So off we rode, with Gogan riding my 64 cm Fuji Touring bike. He's a tall boy.

And just so you know, it was 11 a.m. and Gogan never wakes up on weekends until at least noon.

When we got to the CSU campus at 11:15 -- yeah, four miles takes a long time -- we parked the bikes and went looking for the end of a very looooong line. A mile later, we found it.

Barack Obama wouldn't be speaking until 3:30 p.m., so we were in for a looooong wait. While we waited, Obama volunteers walked down the line telling us that we had to fill out information cards so we could get the backs of our hands marked with 'Xs' so we could be admitted. "You can't get in without the X on your hand." I asked why it wasn't an 'O'. The volunteers thought about it some, smiled, then announced that they would be marking hands with 'Os' instead.

The line finally began to move, and worms began to move in. Meaning, those of us who had waited three hours for the line to move learned how stupid we were as others who showed up at 2 p.m. just jumped into line ahead of us. Never fear, we thought, they won't have 'Xs' or 'Os' on their hands, so they won't be able to get in.

Forward we moved to the security gates, where Federal screeners were Federally screening us using Federal screening techniques such as setting our cameras and cell phones aside (turned on so they could be verified as REAL cameras and cell phones) while we walked through metal detectors. One friend of ours had his Bowie knife confiscated. I'll bet he learned a thing or two about Federal screening techniques.

Passing the screening, we walked into the promised land -- our personal patch of grass barely 60 yards away from the lectern! It was 3:00 and Senator Obama was surely on the way!

About this time, we realized that nobody once checked to make sure we had Xs on our hands. The whole X thing was a ruse to get us to fill out the information cards -- it was a name/address/email harvesting scheme. Sad.

Looking back, the Federal screeners were no longer letting anyone through even though there was still plenty of space behind us. After about seven or eight minutes, we looked back again and people were running and scrambling into a fenced-in grassy area well behind us without being Federally screened. Apparently, as far as we could tell, the Federal screeners decided that they were incapable of screening another 30,000 people within 20 minutes before the Senator spoke. So they just let them into an overflow area far from the lectern. From this distance, they apparently weren't a threat, no matter how many Bowie knives they had in their possession.

People began pouring in by the thousands, but they were still very far back. We were very close. Later, we heard that 50,000 people were in attendance.

Then Senator Obama came out and spoke... for 35 minutes.

He was brilliant and heartfelt and wonderful and inspiring and almost--but not quite--spontaneous and impromptu, for he was still giving his standard stump speech using Tele-prompt-er technology, though with slight variations for local flavor.

For example, at one point, he referenced Republicans' campaign rhetoric about "real America", which implied that other areas were "fake America", and this gave Obama the opportunity to riff on his greatest and most famous hits from his 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address and his acceptance speech of the 2008 DNC:

As you could see and hear, we weren't terribly close. But the sound was terrific, and the crowd was great. It's amazing how much better the vibes and kindness of a crowd can be when they are all Democrats.

If we'd only gotten there another hour earlier. If we'd only awakened at 8 a.m. instead!

Oh yeah, and with a Democratic Governor, two Democratic Senators, most of our CongressCritters now Democrats, a Democratically-controlled state House and Senate, and now with Colorado's electoral college votes going to the Great Senator from Illinois, I'm pretty sure Colorado ain't no Red State anymore!

Oh Beautiful Day!


Blogger SiouxGeonz said...

Wow :)

3:33 PM, October 27, 2008  
Blogger A Midnight Rider said...

Welcome to Blue State Nation. We have been holding a place for you.

5:18 PM, October 31, 2008  

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