It's 10 am in Denver and I am standing in line at Invesco Field waiting to get in, where I will be omw of hundreds of volunteers. In 10 hours, Barack Obama will make history by accepting his parties nomination to be the next President of the United States of America.
A little over two months ago, I left Los Angeles and my big law firm job to join Barack Obama's Campaign for Change, and came out to the new battleground state of Colorado. Now, as I await tonight's proceedings, I see the volunteers, the vendors, and the security staff pour in, the excitement is evident.
Over 80,000 people will be in attendance tonight, the largest crowd in the history of political conventions. As part of the staff here on Colorado, Ihelped distribute some of the Community Credentials issued to ordinary citizens and volunteers, and their excitement is palpable.
Tonight's speech will be more than a convention. It's the political equivalent of Woodstock.
I am on the field, checking out my home state delegation seats. California is just stage left, of course, with the biggest block of seats among the states, of course.
The warm-up act is rehearsing and doing sound checks. It's not often that Stevie Wonder is just a warmup act, but tonight is different from most. And since my duties tonight are just to hand out signs--usually, I work on the policy team--I can sit back and relax.
Monday night--which seems so long ago now--I was on the floor when the Liberal Lion roared again. Ted Kennedy gave a heroic speech to the Party that he has served so long. And while his brothers may inhabit more of the popular imagination, the delegates there knew that his service of more than 45 years has had the greatest impact on the lives of most Americans. And when he pledged to be there in January leading the fight for President Obama'a healthcare plan, the crowd erupted.
Of course National Conventions have small moments too. As I left the crowded floor after Senator Kennedy declared that the dream lives on, I literally ran into Rep. John Lewis, sitting with his Georgia delegation. I got to shake his hand and thank him for his service. He spoke at that historic march on Washington 45 years ago tonight, and he will speak on this historic night as Dr. King's dream becomes a little closer to reality.
Minutes now from Barack Obama. I have been passing out flags, and there are one more set of signs that will wave. Al Gore has spoken, and the feeling amongst the crowd is palpable. They are excited and Hopeful. It's been a beautiful day here in Denver. It's dusk now, as the sun sets over the Rocky Mountains.
But the sun is beginning to rise ok a new day for America.
My words would pale in comparison to Barack Obama's; the images I could
describe would not do justice to the images on television, or the
those present. As I stood in the aisle at the end of the speech, I saw
the African American woman to my right crying--knowing that her country had
taken a giant step forward that she had maybe never imagined was
possible--and I saw the white woman to my right, the same tears in her
eyes. I saw the older, white-haired man in a perfectly tailored gray
suit and blue tie standing on his chair applauding with the same gusto as the 15-year
old kid with braces who had volunteered, who promised to remember this day
his entire life.
But today, the fireworks have stopped, the parties have ended, and the confetti has been swept up. The delegates are filing out of town, back to California and the Carolinas; to Washington state and Washington DC. But here in Colorado--like everywhere else across the country--the reality hits home, for we have only 67 days left to make sure that the convention will not be just a footnote in history, but the beginning of the Change that we need.
by Maia Harari