Living in a small town, you don’t usually get to meet many historical figures. We’ve had people “pause” at the airstrip here, make a five-minute speech, and jump back on their planes to go somewhere much more important than our little town. With the presidential race at full speed, our value has picked up considerably. President Bill Clinton paid us a visit back in February. Michelle Obama stopped in a neighboring town for a rally in March. Big time for us.
Now in order to see my candidate speak, I had to travel to the big city. February 19 is a day I will never forget. I was privileged to see Senator Barack Obama speak. As a supporter of his, it was very rewarding to listen to him speak.
After a two-hour drive to Houston, standing in line for an hour and a half, sitting in the Toyota Center for nearly two hours, he finally took the stage. It was the night he won the Wisconsin primary.
I had watched Obama make many speeches. I remember the very first time I heard him speak. It was at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. He appeared charismatic and very articulate. I saved the transcript from his speech because I knew that he would be a very important figure in history one day.
Watching him speak the night he lost the New Hampshire primary, I first considered switching my support to him. At the time, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. It was his inspiring words that night that led me to take a second look at him. Again, I kept the transcript of his speech.
As many times as I had heard him speak, nothing prepared me for the experience of seeing him speak in person. I don’t know if it was the overall experience of him finally taking the stage, the music from the “Yes We Can” song still vibrating through the speakers, or the cheers and screams from thousands of supporters in one place, but I felt light-headed. If you honestly know me, you would know how amazing that was. I am one of the most cynical people you will ever meet.
As he spoke, I could hear others around me saying things such as “It’s really him,” “This is it” and “Yes We Can.” The energy was unbelievable. There was an elderly couple behind me that had been complaining about standing so long in the line, how hard it had been to find a seat, and how cramped they were. After Obama hit the stage, I thought they were going to fall into my lap trying to lean over everyone to see him. The woman was crying. She said that she had never thought it possible for a black man in America to ever become president. Whether he won or loss, to her he had already won.
By the end of his speech, I knew that no matter what, I was going to do my part to ensure that he was elected. I have never been as moved by a political figure as I was by him. I know people criticize him for his speeches, but if we don’t begin with words, where do we begin?