Well, I'm 41 and have never attended a political rally...until yesterday when I braved the elements and stood in line outside for 2 1/2 hours to hear Barack Obama speak at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. 6,000 spots were made available on a first come, first served basis. With the speech scheduled for 6:00 and the doors opening at 4:00, I figured that it would be prudent to arrive around 3:00 to have a shot at getting into the convention center; this turned out to be a wise decision considering that there was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of thousand folks already in line when I arrived downtown Saturday afternoon.
Part of the reason for the long wait had to do with the security detail by the secret service. Every single person had to be hand checked and pass through a metal detector before entering the main auditorium. By the time 5:30 rolled around, I think my feet were entirely frozen; not to mention, I was just a bit perturbed at the large number of folks who were line-cutting...especially considering the fact that not everybody in line was going to be able to get inside to see Barack. As it turned out, about 1,000 folks were herded into the lower level of the convention center and had to settle for watching the program on TV monitors while another 1,000 or so were sent away with no admittance at all.
But, I was one of the fortunate ones to stand about 200 feet away from the man whom I truly pray will be our next president. Barack spoke for about 50 minutes, and unlike the numerous polished televised interviews and debates that I've read/ watched over the past months, this man- on this evening- simply spoke from his heart- with no written speech in front of him- and hammered home the recurring theme of hope...hope that a young minority man from a broken lower-income level home could one day grow up and have the "audacity" of dreaming about the presidency of the United States.
I've never professed to be a political guru or an expert on domestic or foreign affairs, but I think I'm a pretty good judge of character...and here's a man, in my humble opinion, who undoubtedly displays an incredible amount of charisma and passion for this election/ office...and a genuine hope that history can be made with his candidacy...all I know is that I can share with my grandkids one day that I was there the day that Barack came to Akron to share his message of hope.