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.
Witness To History-Obama In Da Ville
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.