Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Convention day 1 WOW!

I don’t know where to begin, day 1 of the convention has been amazing and overwhelming, I can’t even imagine what to expect tomorrow.

Walking into the convention hall, even before it was full, was electrifying. There is a buzz all about the place with people running about, live music, all of the media, and everyone trying to meet someone! Our California delegation – the largest – is seated in the stands to the right of the stage. If you watched CNN, the panelist faced us – about the only thing we could see of them though was getting their make-up touched up during breaks. Once in the hall, as a delegate we get to walk all around the convention floor until the “big” speakers come on. This was great because I got to check out the action close to the stage and around the battlegrounds states, which of course have the priority seating.

I’m sure that many of you watched the speeches. The tribute to Ted Kennedy was so moving, and his speech even more so. Kennedy could not have been clearer about the goals of this election and the election of Barack Obama. Between Kennedy and Michelle Obama, there were not many dry eyes in the house. Michelle Obama was just wonderful. The crowd was wild for her! She has a presence that inspires confidence both in her and Barack. Many in the hall, including myself, were moved to tears by her descriptions of her relationships with her parents, in particular her father, her relationship with Barack, and their girls. Looking around, it settles in how powerful this experience is and all of the personal stories that are carried by each of us into the convention. Both Kennedy and Michelle made the point so well that electing a President is no task to take lightly. As we’ve seen, a President can drive a country, families, and individuals into depair. Though the convention is lively and electrifying, the weight of this election is palpable everywhere here. I expect that over the next few days, this “fierce sense of urgency” to elect Barack Obama will only grow and hopefully translate to the millions of voters watching this convention.

What about Obama’s “hope” and “change”?
I sat next to a young man, 19 year old Carlos, on the shuttle from the convention to the hotel, who was so inspiring I want everyone to know his story. We keep hearing criticism of Obama’s ability to inspire, offer hope, and provide a vision. I still can’t figure this one out…don’t we want a President who garners respect, attention, and moves people to action by speaking to us? Carlos is entering his sophomore year of college. A year ago he was business major, totally disengaged from politics or the political process – until he paid attention to what Obama had to say. Now, he’s interning for a representative in Southern California, changing his major to political science and economics, applying for a fellowship in D.C. and actively involved with Young Democrats! He told me that he now really believes that his actions can have an impact and make a difference. After hearing Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama today, Carlos said he is even more excited about entering into public service. This is what words of hope and change, a vision and demonstrated leadership for a person, a community and a nation. His story would not exist with Barack Obama.

Other happenings

Target hosted a free day at the Denver Museum of Art. It is a large and beautiful museum. I ran into Ken and his spouse Steve going into the museum so off we all went. We still had the floors in the second wing but had to leave to prepare for the convention. If you ever make it to Denver – the museum is a great place to spend and afternoon.

My intent was to attend the Planned Parenthood “Sex, Politics, and Cocktails” party tonight. My fellow CD 11 delegate Jeff and I were waiting in a very long line to get in and going nowhere fast when a woman came up and said we should go to the Rock the Vote party and put tickets in our hands! Next thing I knew we were in a cab and off to the party with this woman and her partner. These tickets are hard and expensive to come by, but 2 friends didn’t show up so she picked us out from the crowd and invited us along. The party was at the Opera House, a fairly small concert venue so our seats were great! The 2 two big acts we saw were N-E-R-D and Fallout Boy – neither of whom I know but the music was great and the place definitely rocked!

Protest continue. Apparently while I was at the convention, a protest got rowdy with a small group of proclaimed anarchist that resulted in a swarm of police and a shutdown of a few blocks surrounding the hotel. All was clear by the time we returned.

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