I apologize for the semi-political posts of late, but I can't help it right now.

Last night I theorized that in order to have a shot at getting into Key Arena this morning to see Obama speak at noon, I'd have to have lined up by 10am at the latest.

Oh how wrong I was.

People who were in line as early as 9:30 didn't even get in. They filled the 20,000 person arena within minutes and sealed the doors, stranding thousands of people outside in the rain, many of whom waited on lines for over an hour. The building can only hold so many people, yet those shut out banged on the windows and doors trying to demand to be let in. Imagine that, people clamoring to hear a politician. Tens of thousands of people.

This hasn't happened in my lifetime.

Call it inspirational. Call it a movement. Call it a hunger. Call it whatever you want, but do know that it's real and it makes me so damn proud of this country to see so many people believe the future doesn't have to resemble the past.

And for those with their heads in the sand, this is the opposite of disenfranchised. This is electrified.

From Seattletimes.com:

Officials closed the entrances to KeyArena at about 11 this morning, turning away thousands who had gathered to hear Barack Obama speak at noon. Doors were locked after KeyArena reached its capacity of 20,000, officials said.

Those who made it inside were not allowed to leave because police wanted to keep those outside from pushing through the doors and forcing themselves in. People outside were banging on glass doors and windows of the arena, as Seattle Police were trying to maintain peace. Police sent officers outside into the crowd to physically push people away from the doors so that no one would get crushed or trampled.

Kathryn Hughes, a senior at Gig Harbor High School, got inside while her friend, Hunter Burton, also a Gig Harbor senior, was outside, pressed against a KeyArena glass door. Burton said he was "furious beyond words. Democracy should not be limited by a stadium's capacity."

There was a mad dash to get inside, with some people going through side doors leading to the upper level of the arena. One couple who got in line at 9:30 a.m. saw the doors close right in front of them before they could enter. Before the doors opened, thousands of Obama supporters had snaked through Seattle Center, with lines forming before 6 a.m. William Spiritdancer, of Seattle's Central District, pulled his four children — ages 7 to 14 — out of school to see Obama speak. The teachers were cool about it, he said, and wished they could attend themselves.

"It could be history in the making," Spiritdancer said. "He's inspiring. That's what needed. You have to inspire people to something higher."

Read the full article right here.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could share your enthusiasm, but all this talk about electrifying, inspiring, emotional hoop-de-doo sounds a little like celebrity worship crossed with cult fervor.

Yes, it has occurred in your generation that thousands lined up to see a politician. And it happened in Germany in the 30s. That doesn't necessarily make it a good thing, right?

It makes me nervous when this much emotional enthusiasm seems unjustified by reality. I'm not jumping on anybody's "inspiration" bandwagon.

Doug Walsh said...

Thanks for the comment.

I'm sorry you're so jaded and have lost the ability to be inspired. It must really suck to have reached a point in your life where the only thing left to do is anonymously drop Hitler references on a stranger's blog.

As for me, I'd rather vote out of "inspiration" than vote for a president the masses decided they'd "like to have a beer with". Will Obama make a great president? I have no idea. I'd like to think he will. Do I agree with everything he says? No way. But I want an end to the constant fighting in Washington and an end to only half the population being represented. Just as I feel my concerns have never been addressed in the 8 years of the Bush whitehouse, I won't vote for Hillary out of concen that the other half will get the same treatment.

But since you mentioned reality, here it is: the reality -- from where I sat at the caucus today -- is that a very diverse and sizable portion of this country is furious with the direction this great nation is heading and is uniting (not dividing) to ensure we don't have a leader that continues down that path.

As for the fervor and the "cult worship" of Obama, all I can say is that those not part of it finally know how it feels to have been a non-evangelical the past 8-12 years. For as long as I've been old enough to vote the so-called Christian Conservatives have dominated the conversation and used their power to isolate and divide this country. The only difference between what they did and what Obama is doing is demographics.

In the end though, regardless who wins, it will have very little impact on our day-to-day lives. I just want a President I could say I'm proud to have voted for. Nothing more, not much less.

Thanks for reading.