Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barack Obama in Raleigh!!!

A local TV station airing this morning's speech live estimated 28,000 people gathered in the downtown mall. The line waiting to get into the area stretched for many blocks, doubling back on itself repeatedly. My office partner Carrie waited over three hours and got in.

I walked around outside with my camera, so excited, taking crowd shots in every direction. This place in this moment with the choppers hovering overhead and the news trucks lining the curb felt to me like the center of the world.

Then from the loudspeaker, audible for blocks: Barack Obama, urging people to go straight from the rally to vote. "It's a beautiful day," he said. "Don't wait."

I walked back to my office, only a few blocks away, and listened to the rest of his speech on my computer. I've never felt more patriotic or full of hope for this country.

As I walked through downtown later in the afternoon,everyone seemed to know everyone, strangers speaking to each other as if they'd already met. The dull film that can lie over an ordinary moment was gone.
I want every day to be like that, with that kind of awareness and appreciation of everything. That to me would be a bold life.

At the same time, I can feel in myself a tempering of my excitement, as if that blunting of feeling would protect me in advance from heartbreak if my candidate doesn't become president. That kind of strategy doesn't work; it just gets in the way of the fun along the way. And may well get in the way of the best results. Because full enthusiasm is likely to lead to more action toward the goal.

So, I'm advocating full-tilt enjoyment of this historic moment, which, by the way, does not mean no-holds-barred behavior. Not at all. One thing that impressed me about this morning's 28,000. It was such an orderly and yet obviously delighted crowd.

Indeed, a beautiful day.

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Debra W said...


How wonderfully your excitement is portrayed in those photos!

Thank you for leaving me the comment about Mamie Potter's blog. I will definitely have to check it out! I always enjoy meeting new bloggers!


mamie said...

Peggy, I had lunch at Sunflowers today and the place was packed with people who had been to the rally. The excitement was everywhere - those who had been close and those who had only been in the presence. He is electrifying, and I can only guess what it might have been like to be there. My daughter works for the campaign and often gets to be on conference call with him.

Thanks for the photos and reporting.

Peggy Payne said...

Well, Debbie, Mamie Potter is the person whose comment follows yours. Debbie, this is Mamie. Mamie, this is Debbie.

Janet Roper said...

Wow, Peggy, thanks for your post. It shows a lot of excitement and a lot of new energy.

kenju said...

I wanted so badly to be there, but I had a previous engagement - with a woman who is (no doubt) a McCain backer. I doubt she would have understood if I had canceled our meeting.

Diane Mandy said...

Before becoming an expat, I lived in Raleigh and am so excited that NC is considered a toss up. Hopefully, we can turn it blue!

Peggy Payne said...

It was the most fun I ever had at a place where I never actually got in.

And about the new energy, Janet: for me, it was time. Just a couple of days ago, I'd said "Okay, I've done all I'm going to do" about campaigning.

But now I do have a fresh burst of willingness to get out there.

I do hope NC will go blue. We never have been. We've never even come this close before.

Mojo said...

Peggy, while you were outside taking pictures, I was inside taking pictures. In fact, I snapped a few of the folks standing outside on the corner of Lane and Salisbury toward the end... you might even be in one of them.

And I noted the "orderliness" of the throng too. But most of all, I noticed the energy in that place.

My post is here at How I Spent My Wednesday Mostly, it's just an introduction to a slide show. But if you have a few minutes, you might find it enjoyable.

But one thing needs correcting here. NC has only voted blue once in the last 40 years (1976), but prior to that only three Republicans won the state since Reconstruction, and the most recent of those was in 1928. NC voted for FDR's New Deal and was a blue state in every election from then until the red tide in NC began with Nixon in 1968.

But it is worth noting that until the FDR administration, the political ideology of the two major parties was 180 degrees opposite where it stands today. so effectively, you could call those Democratic presidents we voted for from 1876 until 1932 "red".


Peggy Payne said...

Wow, thank you. I was taking the narrow view: how the state has voted since I started paying clsoe attention. You're impressively knowledgeable on this stuff, Mojo. I'm on my way to your slide show.

K.B. said...

When Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he has been widely quoted as telling a bystander (apparently Bill Moyers) that "We've lost the South for a generation." It's been a bit longer than that. But it seems that there's hope yet. :)

Peggy Payne said...

Work still needs to be done in Texas apparently. Quite a paradox to give the nation both LBJ and W.

Just got the news that NC went blue for Obama. I'm thrilled!