I just got home from the Barack Obama rally. I am tired. I am hoarse. I am hopeful.
It was exciting to volunteer for the campaign, walking the line that stretched for blocks, encouraging people to vote early. It was enlightening to talk to people whose friends were denied the right to vote, even this early in the voting, and are having to fight for the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
It was comforting to stand next to complete strangers for nearly seven hours, and be able to talk to them like you already knew them. I talked to a representative from the Navajo nation about their fear that the government will begin mining uranium on their land again, and about how the people are so poor and so in need of work that they are not even sure if the fear can overcome their own urges to give in for the money. I talked to people who have been canvassing their neighborhoods so much that they know who is going to answer the door at each house, what that person is going to talk about, and even sometimes what the person will have on their television.
It was hilarious listening to George Lopez talk. That man could have grown up in my house, listening to him talk about bologna with the red plastic string. He clearly knows Albuquerque... talking about that guy selling green chile out of his car and drunken mornings eating at the Frontier... How many rallies do you go to, where there are chants of "Odelay!!!"? I love Albuquerque.
But more than anything, it was inspiring to listen to Barack Obama speak. He spoke of how our country needs to be united again. How we are ALL citizens of the "real America". How the education system needs to be reformed, but how parents need to be responsible for turning off the television and giving their children books.
And probably what resonated the most for me was his love for this country. A country where the child of an immigrant, who didn't come from a rich or connected family, who worked hard to get through college, who has young children, who believes that the citizens of this country can make it a better place for all its citizens, not just the rich ones... where that person has a chance to be President. Because all of those things, they apply not just to him. They apply to me, too.
I hope the fact that nearly 30,000 people showed up to this rally compared to the 1,000 people that showed up to the McCain rally here this morning will correlate to election day. (*edit: I guess the final official number is closer to 45,000 people. awesome)