Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: The Chauffeur Speaks

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Chauffeur Speaks

Let me preface this by stating that I did not vote for Barack Obama in the primary in Colorado. My personal preference had been for John Edwards, but this option was denied me by his withdrawal before the Colorado primaries. Since a family friend died years before his time due to lack of medical insurance for a preventable ailment, national health care has been my major deciding factor when voting and I felt that Hillary Clinton’s plan was better. The battle between Clinton and Obama was fierce, but I was ready to back Obama in the general election because some health care plan is better than the farce that John McCain offers.

When the tickets for Obama’s acceptance speech sold out so quickly, my wife and I were resigned to finding one of the numerous public viewing locations in Denver to watch this momentous, historical event. I was resigned to simply acting as a chauffer for Team Blue Oasis, experiencing the DNC from their perspective and not mine. Never before had American been given the opportunity to vote for an African American candidate in the general election with a major political party and I wanted to be part of it in some fashion. When I dropped off Celtic Diva and Writing Raven at the delegation breakfast, the plan was to try to obtain Writing Raven a pass so both of them could attend the speech while Monocot and I would take Morrigan with us to watch. Celtic Diva worked some incredible magic and managed to turn her one pass into five, getting the entire Team Blue Oasis in, though only Writing Raven and Morrigan were able to sit together.

What does one do when they find out that they are going to be able to take part of history? Yeah, I called my Mom… clichéd I know, but my mother and I have a close relationship and I had to tell her. I also sent a text message to numerous friends, most of which were congratulatory, if not jealous. My wife Monocot and I stuck together as much as possible, but once we entered the gates of Mile High Stadium, we had no choice but to move to completely different sections of the stadium as sections were being strictly enforced.

As I became situated in my nosebleed section directly behind the stage, giving me an excellent opportunity to view the back of the head of everyone at the podium, I was prepared to listen to the various speakers and watch history with Obama’s acceptance speech. Win or loose, America was going to have the opportunity for someone to actually live up to Martian Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, coincidently on the same day 45 years later. I had already made my logical choice for a candidate for the November election and while the speech could influence my decision, it was highly unlikely.

The people I was sitting with were nice, but they were strangers and something this large I wanted to share with friends. My wife had turned her phone off to save battery power, so I was prepared to make the best of things when I got a text message from Steven in Florida asking my opinion about Bill Richardson’s speech. With his wife in night school after finishing her day job, he wished to communicate with another adult with similar views. There was much banter between us, including some sophomoric humor that could only be truly appreciated by disciples of the wit of Monty Python.

By the time that Joe Biden hit the stage, the tone of conversation turned more serious, as we both were intrigued by the events taking place in front of us. During the video biography of Obama, Steven admitted that he was having difficulty explaining to his five year old son what was going on without crying and the full magnitude of the importance of this nomination hit me. As Steven said in his text, he is the father of a wonderful five year old boy who is a mixed race child; his father is African American and his mother is white… just like Barack Obama. On the anniversary of Emmet Till’s death 47 years earlier, the magnitude of black man with a white wife telling their son about a man who was exactly like him sunk in. I lost my logical detachment and general skepticism about all politicians and allowed my emotions to come to the forefront.

I will not reiterate the analysis that Steven provided of the speech; suffice to say that I do agree with many of the points. Not having a child of my own, I can only imagine how Steven felt, but it was enough to make me rather misty eyed also. As Obama spoke, I allowed my heart instead of just my mind to listen and I will admit that I dared to hope for a better future. As the speech went on, I could clearly envision Steven trying to explain this to his son and I started weeping due to as much as what Obama said as to what it meant for Steven’s family and millions of others just like him. Hope. Love. Perseverance. Pride. I had become so disgusted by politics in general that I did not think anyone could move me, but thanks to the magnificent speech, the honesty that was behind the words and the text messages exchanged with a friend 1,800 miles away, I was truly moved. I am not ashamed to say that my “male bonding moment” over texting left two grown men weepy eyed.

Today has reverted to politics as usual. McCain is doing his best to steal all of Obama’s thunder by announcing his Vice Presidential running mate. This will be hashed out by all the media and dissected ad nauseam. In their focus on the facts, figures and opinions of the day, they will completely overlook the hard to quantify emotional aspects of last night’s acceptance speech. How does one quantify the impact of people opening their hearts and feeling hope? The feeling was a tangible presence last night at Mile High Stadium, and I was far from the only person with red eyes from crying. Win or lose, Obama has undoubtedly inspired this generation that Yes, We Can, if only we put our minds to it.


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