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January 17, 2008 / chrisisgross

touched by obama

woke up this morning to see vans from every news station covering my street. wasn’t sure what was going on. my initial assumption was that it had something to do with the recent escalation in gang violence in the neighborhood.

flipped on the 12 o’clock news to see what was going on and lo and behold barack obama was having a round table meeting at the women’s center that is down the block from me. went outside and walked down the street to see if i could see him.

brought the camera with me and by the stroke of good fortune i was able to get a few pics. there were not that many people there since this was not a widely publicized event so i was able to get close and on top of that i was able to graze his pinkie as he was shaking hands with people.

at least i think so.

once he got to the line the people went nuts. i had heard the whole barack/rock star thing and thought it was a manufactured thing(by the media and through his handlers), but this was a very real and visceral reaction. even i the great cynic when it comes to american politics was feeling excited, overwhelmed and even a little anxious. i still feel it now as a matter of fact. barack obama’s presence was electric.

so as i was trying to shake his hand he reached out to me, thought i had a chance. as that happened though i got pushed by the guy next to me who took my handshake. to top it off his push made me stumble and kick a stroller with a child in it. not exactly what i was hoping for. the hand i touched i think was obama’s, but maybe it was the jerk next to me.

pretty cool experience, however once obama was on his way down the street, the sign up to volunteer for barack contingent were on the prowl. we got the whole “aren’t you excited about change in american politics”question from one of the volunteers. to which i thought this is not necessarily change in the grand sense. real change involves an independent voice that is not tied to a broken two party system. this is definitely a shift in tone and an exciting new direction. however, change comes from the outside not necessarily the inside.

maybe barack will prove us wrong. i hope so.

the volunteer and the women behind him firmly believed that obama was the voice of change. i was not interested in rhetoric just to get a chance to see this rising political star. i knew  that it was time for me to go.

don’t get me wrong i quite like obama and i will in all likelihood vote for a democrat come november.  i am voting in their primary come february; its just that i am not a die-hard democrat. i lean toward their party as the lesser of two evils choice. i guess i just want a bob lafollette or a barry goldwater to be around today. too many people here are too quick to jump on the new “progressive” trend without any real thought about why.

as my dad said to me “you are in the right city just 40 years late.

here’s the pics. just click on them for a full size

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