Makes ya wanna think.

Witnessing History: I watch Obama kick off his Campaign in St. Paul

The Pad is only 2 hours from St. Paul, MN so when Obama announced he was kicking off his presidential campaign at the XCel Center on June 3rd I had to go.

I got to the XCel Center at 4:30, the doors were supposed to open at 7, and quite a crowd had already gathered. The crowd was happy, a nice mix of old and young, white and black. Everyone smiled.

I threw my hip out last week and had to hobble about six blocks as the police snaked the line along the sidewalks of downtown St. Paul.

I thought I’d do some PR work for Operation American Freedom so I printed out some posters the night before. I thought I’d post:

Cheney 2008


George W. Bush is a skidmark on the underpants of history..

Turns out St. Paul isn’t Seattle. The lightposts and telephone poles of St. Paul are pristine – not mummified with layers of fliers for cool bands. So I tucked my fliers into my raincoat to see if I could distribute them inside the XCel Center.

I stood for an hour and a half beside the Landmark Center waiting for the line to start moving. Word came that Obama would speak at 9.

Landmark Ctr. Reflection

Crowd by the Landmark Center waiting for Obama Kickoff

Once the line started moving it took an hour to reach the XCel Center.

At the XCel Center

Security was tight and I had to throw away a nice pocket knife. I limped and escalated up to a level with  seats free.

The crowd was energetic and celebratory.

Crowd in the XCel Ctr

Lots of smiles and dancing on crowdcam.

Obama Crowdcam

I’ve been a hardcore Obama supporter since I read his first book – Dreams from my Father – a year ago. I love his prose. I love his fairness and willingness to think through opposing viewpoints. I love his sense of justice. I love the subtlety of his ethical judgment. I love his confidence. I am a proud liberal and would have been ecstatic to support Hillary if she had won. I love the way Obama waged his campaign intelligently and with little drama among his advisors.

I grew up in the hardcore segregated South of the 50’s and early 60’s with liberal parents who were in a constant state of outrage at the cruelty of Jim Crow. Dad took me to my first Civil Rights march in Washington, D.C. in 1962. He heard Martin Luther King give his I Have a Dream speech. I only wish my dad, Jack Sharp, had lived to stand beside me to watch Barack Obama walk onto the stage with Michelle to kick off his campaign for US President.

Obama and Michelle

Throughout his rousing speech I clapped and smiled and cried. I’m a sucker for idealism and Obama delivers. But there is something more about him. He knows how to get things done.

As I left the Center I dropped Operation American Freedom leaflets on tables and counters and saw them draw some smiles.

I drove home glowing with hope and pride in how far my country has come.


I’ve been working hard on ChipWits and so haven’t had the spare bandwidth to post this blog entry until now. I’ve got a camera full of wonderful pictures of Spring flowers and lake scenes I’ll be posting.

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