April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log


Questions? Comments? Reservations?
anotherportlandblog[at]gmail[dot]com

Another Portland Blog

Sunday, May 18, 2008

 

Obama in Waterfront Park

In 2004 I was so disgusted by the Democratic party and America in general that I wrote in "Pepe the Dancing Mule" for president on my 2004 ballot. Four years later, I was standing in a 20-block long line with, according to one estimate, over 72,000 people to listen to the inevitable 2008 Dem candidate for president on a 90-degree day.

This should serve as yet another testament to the charisma and pull of Barack Obama; that a cynic like me was willing to get out of bed early on a Sunday morning to see him live. Would I have shown up if the Decemberists hadn't opened for him? Sure.

I rolled downtown around 10:30. With two hours to go until the gates opened, the line was already so long I was convinced I didn't stand a chance at getting in. For the next two hours, I tried to bury my face in a book to ward off volunteers, campaigners and t-shirt vendors snaking their way through the crowd, all of them eager to slap a sticker or their wares on anything that moved. I had the good fortune to find myself standing behind a model UN club from a local high school, who happily warded them away by repeating "sorry, we're too young to vote and we have no money." Despite this line, a PETA volunteer managed to get a few pamphlets with photos of tortured piglets into their hands, which they immediately passed off to people desperately trying to find the end of the line.




The Decemberists were rolling through "July, July" as I passed through security and somehow landed myself a spot 75 yards back from the stage. Given the size of this crowd, that wasn't half bad. If I had headed right instead of left at the gate, I would have been led to a spot towards the back. The crowd was mostly indifferent to the band's set and Colin Meloy did his best to get everyone to sing along to "Sixteen Military Wives." Crowd participation was limited to some hand waving during "The Perfect Crime."




They closed with "Sons and Daughters." I'm sad to say the crowd's reception was far more tepid than the one that actually brought a tear to my eye during a Decemberists' set last January at the Crystal Ballroom. During that show, a group of kids jumped on stage to sing "here all the bombs fade away" with the band in a moment reminiscent of those old "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" ads.




Did I mention how hot it was out there? It was damn hot. Real hot. It was so hot that a mother sitting in front of me built a psuedo-tent out of Obama signs to shield her kids from the sun. It was so hot that two large golden retrievers on a small boat in the Willamette jumped into the polluted river and later shook themselves off on their owner, who was wearing a bikini at the time, and the owner didn't seem to care (see above). It was so hot that an elderly man who came to the rally wearing an American flag as a cape had to turned it into a hood. It was so hot I now have a sunburn on my chest because I made the mistake of unbuttoning the top of my polo shirt and it hurts, dammit.




Obama went on stage as a song from Springsteen's The Rising album blasted. He spoke for around 45-minutes and covered his stances on the Iraq war, energy, college tuition and the economy. I'd like to say that seeing him live while surrounded by tens of thousands of people in what will go down as one of Oregon's most significant political moments melted my heart and I spent the rest of the afternoon volunteering at a campaign office but it didn't.




The man is a master orator and this was history being made right before my eyes but the cynic inside me tells me not to get my hopes up. Could anyone really be this good and pure at this level in the American political sphere? Let's hope so. For what it's worth, I won't be writing in the names of any fictional donkeys on my ballot come November.




After the rally, I walked with part of the crowd through Waterfront Park on my way to Stumptown Coffee. Two metalhead-types on mini-bikes buzzed past us on the lawn. "Look at these Obama people," one spat. "They're actin' like they've just seen Jesus." Maybe not Jesus but, with any luck, someone equally capable of pulling off a few miracles. This country could use a few of them.

For infinitely better photos of the today's rally, here's a link to a Flickr gallery The Oregonian put together.

Labels: ,


Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home


SEARCH THIS BLOG? SURE, NO PROBLEMO, AS BART SIMPSON USED TO SAY....





www.flickr.com




-archives-

  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics


    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?