Lesson #7 Will Have to Wait
Last night I joined about 6,000 other people to hear and see Barack Obama, when he visited our town railroad station on a "whistle stop" while traveling from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. He was due into the station at 6 pm and the gates opened at 4:00. I arrived at 3:50 and the grounds were already packed. All attendees had to go through "security checks," very similar to the airport routine, before entering. I was happy to see how thorough it was, as I have no desire to ever be anywhere near any kind of assassination attempt. Once we were cleared and admitted, all 6,000 of us had to stand in the hot sun for two hours, waiting for our hero to arrive. It was tedious and uncomfortable, but I found it interesting to observe the mix of people around me. There were all ages, from infant to aged, and every skin color from white-white to black-black. People seemed happy and excited. There was no feeling of discontent that I could discern, in spite of the long wait.
As 6 o'clock approached, the excitement grew. The train pulled into the station right on time, and the crowd starting humming..."He's here, he's here..." The M.C. of the event first introduced Senator Bob Casey, who spoke briefly, before he announced Senator Obama. When Obama strode onto the podium, the crowd went wild, cheering, whistling, and chanting, "O-bama, O-bama"
Obama smiled and waved, waved and smiled, and started speaking. I won't attempt to repeat anything he said, since any of you who are interested can hear his speeches on YouTube. I will just say that he had us in the palm of his hand, the entire 40 minutes of his speech. Even though it was the third speech he had given in the previous 4 hours, he was dynamic, articulate, and congenial. I liked almost everything he said, except a couple of things that were more to the left than I am. (It's late and I'm tired, so I'm not even going to try to go into any detail. Maybe on a later post.) The crowd cheered and clapped enthusiastically. The biggest applause, from me as well, erupted when he promised to get our troops out of Iraq by 2010. He made that promise at two different points in the speech. Afterwards, he waded into the crowd to shake hands.
I came away from the experience even more convinced than I was before that Obama is the best choice for President, of the three viable candidates. I believe his youth, vigor, intelligence and good nature can help him to be a strong leader and maybe even ease some of the terrible divisiveness that has plagued our great country for the past 8 years.