Friday, August 29, 2008

REPORT from Invesco Stadium

On the dramatic conclusion of the Democratic National Convention

by RW Spisak Jr.

Democrats can be proud and happy, about the message from the Mile High City! The Democratic Convention spoke in voices that represent the best in us all, veteran, rancher, students, artists and government servants. Proud because our party doesn't just talk about diversity we actually inhabit a wide diversity of experience. We heard from a broad spectrum of Americans and it was good.

If you sat with me high in the stands at Invesco stadium among the eighty thousand democrats, you would have seen, as I did the toddler with Grandma and Grandpa behind me, the Illinois State Senator with his sister and cousin to the right in front of me, the young women in the row in front of me to my left and the two retired seniors at the end of our row. The Healthcare advocate from Chicago and the ex-pat Dubliner who took turns in the seat on my left, and the grad-student to my right. Many shades of the beautiful multi-hued palette of America all sitting in just these 12 seats in section 530.

Faces of children, faces lined with experience, faces pierced and tattooed. T-Shirts, work-shirts and elegant suits, most decorated with Obama/Biden buttons, or emblazoned with the images of the Democratic candidate, Senator Barak Obama. Faces decorated with smiles, grins punctuated by laughter, as hopeful Americans climbed those steep stairs expectantly to the heights of the mile high stadium. It seemed a truly fitting launching site for a team that will take all Americans to new heights.

I asked the state senator from Illinois, what can you tell me about Senator Obama from the Illinois Legislature. He said, "I know him very well. He played poker at my house many a night. My father was one of his early supporters since his time in our legislature". He explained "Its not easy for a freshman legislator to be taken seriously. Barak asked to be given a difficult task. He was offered campaign reform, which had languished for decades in our legislature. He agreed to undertake the thankless task of campaign reform. This freshman legislator, actually built a coalition of democrats and republicans and passed serious campaign reform." He then offered, "That anyone would call him an elitist is ridiculous to anyone back home who knows him. He's a real family man, and the most down home guy, you'd ever want to know."

I asked "what else should I know about Senator Obama? Well, he thought a minute and said, "I played poker with him, on many Saturday nights, and he's a very conservative poker player". "He will make an excellent president, and Michelle will be an excellent first lady. She is one, classy woman." I thanked him, and promised I would, pass the word.

The audience slowly grew, half filled when I arrived at 3pm. As the crowd grew I watched young men and women, all shapes and sizes, young families and grandparents with multi-hued grandkids in-tow all climbing into this huge stadium. All these Americans every shape, size and color all prepared to wait from 3 o'clock to 9pm, enduring 90 degree Denver afternoon heat. Each ready to turn away from fear and despair, ready to listen to new ideas about the challenges facing America.

We heard from Iraq war veterans and unemployed factory workers, we saw party leaders and entertainers, children and former candidates. The entire spectrum of America was there, on stage and off and it sure looked like, we were happy to see US! After all the wonderful speeches and thought-provoking discussions and beautiful firework tribute we began to "take it home". The crowd made it's slow happy progress chanting and singing.

There was a look of brotherhood on every brow, worn proud, like a hero's laurel. Fear and hopelessness had been dismissed. Every man, and woman knew they were equal, citizens and participants in this great American Drama. There was a joy in our diverse yet common heritage. I haven't felt such a palpable sense of unity in years. Imagine just for a moment what we felt, walking among 100,000 happy hopeful homeward bound people.

Yes, there was the occasional inevitable bumping, jostling or the odd toe-smash as will happen in a dense walking crowd, but what you heard again and again, was a nod, a wink, an exchange of simple courtesies. I heard not one angry, fretful, hasty or uncivil word as 100,000 left through the circuitous route laid out by the Secret Service. Not many were sure where they were going and it was late, (Just three exits one officer told me, for all 100,000 visitors) yet the streaming crowd was all smiles as they made their inching progress, a slow river of happy humanity.

It would have done your heart good, to see so many happy hopeful people leaving the final night of the convention. Walking toward an election that will change the direction of this great country.

If you saw that crowd, you would say with me... YES WE CAN!

Solidarity & Peace
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