Monica Roberts

Witness To History-Obama In Da Ville

Filed By Monica Roberts | May 13, 2008 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Politics
Tags: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Democrat primaries, Kentucky, KY US Senate race, Louisville

Sen. Barack Obama was in Da Ville SenObamaDaVille5.jpgtoday for a campaign rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

You know that I made sure yours truly was going to be inside the room and part of the 8,000 people that showed up to witness history. There were another 2,000 people that wanted to get in but were unfortunately turned away because the hall was at capacity.

I farted around a little too long and bounced out of the house clad in my Obama shirt and jeans at 4:30 PM. I arrived downtown and passed the convention center enroute to the parking lot I like to use four blocks away on Chestnut Street. I noted the line to get inside snaked around the building for several blocks.

The doors opened at 5 PM and even though I was at the back of the line where it started on the 4th Street side of the Convention Center complex, it moved fast. There were various politicians introducing themselves and shaking hands with people as we waited to get in. Campaign workers were passing out stickers for Greg Fischer, the other Democratic candidate for US Senate here in Kentucky. There are many Democrats in the state who have concerns about just how electable Bruce Lunsford will be if he gets in a race with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with the Vencor mess lurking in his background.

Unfortunately the local chapter of the Forces of Intolerance was in full effect as well. The odious Dr. Frank Simon was there with several of his acolytes staging an anti-abortion protest. But despite the negative karma from Simon and company, the mood remained festive on this beautiful late afternoon spring day. Vendors were hawking bootleg Obama shirts and buttons. The official Obama campaign stands inside the convention center were doing a brisk business as well.

A few minutes later I was being directed into the building by the cheerfully efficient Obama campaign personnel. I quickly autographed an Obama campaign sign-in sheet and headed in the direction of a nearby up escalator. I waited in a second line to walk through a metal detector while I was hand wanded by a Secret Service agent and my purse thoroughly searched by a TSA employee. The whole process from the time I hit the end of the long line to getting into a seat in the bleacher section was thirty minutes.

While I waited for the rally to start, I was having conversations with various people in the multicultural crowd that attended this rally. We were basically talking about the historic nature of this event, Barack's chances in the Kentucky primary next Tuesday (May 20) and eventually in the fall against John McCain.

I eventually ended up seated next to an African-American woman named Bessie. We hit it off immediately and while we were talking about our personal lives, she mentioned she has a college age son at Harvard who's a blogger. I told her about my blog and living life as a transgender woman. We ended up talking about a wide array of subjects before KY 6th District Rep. Ben Chandler stepped on stage at 6:40 PM to deliver the warm up stem-winder speech.

When he was done, he introduced a Ford plant worker who spoke for a few moments, then introduced Sen. Obama a little after 7 PM. The crowd began to roar in approval as flashbulbs from phones and cameras began popping all over the building and especially around Sen. Obama and his ring of Secret Service agents.

Sen. Obama took about ten minutes to shake hands before stepping on stage and getting into his speech. He had to stop twice because two peeps were feeling ill due to heat exhaustion and in one case tossed a liter sized bottle of water to one of them.

40 minutes later after directing his fire at Sen. McCain, his cousin Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, he departed the stage to wild, enthusiastic applause. He made a loop around the stage to shake hands with the assembled masses before winding his way back to the green room area behind the VIP stands- flashbulbs and the media trailing him all the way.

I killed a few minutes watching people be interviewed by local television personalities and reporters or shaking hands and hugging friends and colleagues before I exited the convention center. I ran into Dr. Story and Jaison Gardiner and walked with them for a few blocks gauging their reactions to the rally before we went our separate ways to our cars.

I enjoyed my late afternoon witnessing political history. I was happy to see the multitudes of enthusiastic young people who were in attendance at this rally. I'm looking forward to being at the convention in Denver courtesy of the Project later this summer as well.


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So, Dr. Simon, the noted local allergist who's allergic to anything involving common sense or GLBT issues, was hanging around, was he? Was he wearing his hood and sheet?

I must admit I'm envious of all you good folks who've become excited and/or energized over the Obama candidacy, or for that matter the Clinton candidacy. I'll be voting for him next Tuesday, but I can't summon the excitement for either Obama or Clinton that both sides manage to inspire in others. I suppose it is because I made my choice by reading their position papers, and purposely left sound bites and image out of the equation, as much as a person can - and, frankly, John Edwards was the one I could have become excited about, in the way Monica and Marti have become excited about Obama, or my wife and others I know are excited about the slim possibility of a Hillary presidency.

Once again, as in 2004, I'm settling for a candidate that is, at best, tied for my 4th choice of the original list of candidates. But, that's the way politics works. Perhaps, 4 years from now, I'll be excited to vote for Obama for a second four years, based on his success in office; I hope so.

To have a candidate that you really can believe in, that really excites you, is a special thing. I don't recall ever being that excited about a Presidential candidate, but there have been local and state candidates that did that for me, and our current Congressman has that level of support from me. Those of you who are that excited, enjoy it, and I hope Barack Obama proves to be worthy of the level of commitment that people are able to find for him, because after 8 years of Bush, there will be much to do.

I'm telling you, by the time the Primary rolls around you'll be so sick of the two of them... LOL

Monica, your experience at the Lou-ah-vul convention center was better than when I was there in November 2002 to see Mr. Dubya himself.

Having received the admission ticket as a gift, I waited for three hours as the line slowly moved around the outside of the convention center. One war protester walked by on the opposite side of the street carrying a sign that read: "Iraq: What Would Jesus Do?" --- and the lovely Republican woman behind me yelled in my ear at the top of her lungs, "He'd bomb the Hell outta'em, that's what Jesus'd do!" I was rendered half-deaf.

I finally got inside, and forty feet in front of the screening machines, they quit letting people in for 45 minutes. Finally they began letting people in again, I was screened, and walked up and up and up to the floor where Dubya's war rally was going on.

I did not go there to disrupt anything, but I could hear two of the volunteer bouncers talking behind my left shoulder. One of them wanted to throw me out because I had pierced ears --- not something that any respectable Republican male would do to his God-given manly earlobes. He decided I must be some Commie liberal up to no good, but his companion told him he had to wait until I actually did something. My heart sank, because I was looking forward to pressing a good lawsuit. Perhaps they did have reason to suspect me, because I was not clapping and whooping like the rest of Dubya's huge adoring crowd.

I was so far back in the cavernous room that Dubya was about three inches tall and I saw the last 45 seconds of his speech. Then he immediately disappeared and I spent the next 90 minutes getting out of the building and back to my car.

But at least I had personally witnessed Dubya in the flesh. I had verified that Dubya is a real man and not a product of computer-generated imaging. Too bad.

Have fun voting on May 20th, Monica!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 14, 2008 10:53 AM

Monica, I am thrilled for you that you were there and I am sure he gave an excellent speech. Allen, your phonetics are better than mine for the actual pronounciation of "The Queen city's name. As they used to say of me in Kentucky. "Well, you're a Yankee all right, but you ain't a Damn Yankee!" Put me in a room with people from Louisville and in fifteen minutes out pops a "y'all" from nowhere!