Monday, October 13, 2008
The morning was stellar. I met up with Tracy and Jen and we decided to volunteer as ushers (it was supposed to rain and we're dedicated, but other people seemed to want to stand outside. Far be it from us to disappoint them). We ended up in charge of the area directly in front of the stage on the floor. The Obama advance team was very specific about the way the arena was to be filled; first this section, then this one, and leave this area for last, etc. We wrangled crowds, dealt with people who thought they deserved a better seat (hello, lady in the chartreuse, I am talking to you, girlfriend) and made sure people were seated where they were supposed to be.
When it all got started, we ended up in the front row. Turns out one of the "reserved" areas we were guarding because they told us to was our own seating. Good thing we listened and kept those seats clear. LOL
When Michelle was introduced, the crowd went crazy. She came up and was so gracious and kind, thanking people for their work and acknowledging the efforts of the field organizers here in Rochester.
The speech was low key; she is definitely a different kind of speaker than her husband. But her respect and admiration for him was clear not only in her words but in the expressions on her face as she talked about him and about the things that matter to people in this country today.
She made eye contact with people in the crowd, meeting my gaze several times, and then shifting her eyes to connect with others in the room. She was personable and down-to-earth, open and genuine, articulate and dignified.
At no time did the mood in the room turn negative; a couple of times there were cries of "Boo!" from the audience, but they went unacknowledged and died out quickly. This was not a speech against anything; it wasn't a policy speech, it was a speech for the man she wants to see in the White House. As a mother, daughter and sister, she made it clear that her concerns are our concerns, and that she believes in her husband's intellect, his integrity, and his ability to make real and substantive change.
And she was right; he has done his 85%. The other 15% is up to us. We can do it; we can change this country, and in doing so we have the potential to change the world.
After the speech she came down and shook hands with people. I have shaken the hands of a lot of politicians, but this one ranks pretty high in terms of the excitement I felt. After she shook my hand, she went on to my friend Jen and hugged her. Amazing. And then to Tracy for another handshake. We all had a brief moment to tell her what this campaign means to us. For me, it was a teary moment to say thank you for what I know has been a grueling, exhausting process. For making a sacrifice so huge in terms of family and marriage. For seeing that this really is that important.
I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this, and I am eager to see what hard work and hope can accomplish.
Let's get out there.
Yes we can.