Friday, February 8, 2008

WOW! What a Turnout in Seattle for Obama!

I drove to Seattle this morning to see Barack Obama in person at Key Arena. The place holds 17,000 people comfortably and 20,000 uncomfortably -- and every nook and cranny was packed beyond capacity. But there still wasn't enough room: 3,000 more people stood outside Key Arena in windy cold and drizzle, but stay they did, for every word, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The doors opened at 11 but Obama didn't speak until 1:10 or so. At about 12:15 other officials began to file in and take up the microphone to say a few words. A local musician went on and on interminably about a new song he had written for Obama, and then showed a music video of a choir singing it that went on and on and on. We could have done with much less intro and the music video alone... but that was the only missed beat in the event.

Just before Obama came onto the platform, Congressman Adam Smith, one of the first people to start the ball rolling in Washington State for Obama's campaign, was introduced and warmly welcomed by the crowd. He then introduced Mayor Nickels who said a few words.

The big surprise came next. Out came Governor Christine Gregoire, who surprised and pleased the whole place by announcing,then and there for the first time, her support for Obama. Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell had earlier in the month announced their support for Senator Clinton, so we all were wondering if the Governor would follow suit, but she tickled everyone in attendance with this energetic, skillful and joyous announcement.

When Obama came on, the place roared, stomped, yelled, screamed and chanted, "Obama! Obama! Obama!" and when he said we, as a nation, can reclaim our soul (I'm paraphrasing the content of his messsage), the crowd chanted, "Yes, We Can!" echoing an earlier speech he made that has morphed into a campaign song that's running wild in cyberspace. (It's also available on his website at

He spoke for about 45 minutes. He had the people in the palm of his hand. I was near tears before he came on as I looked around at the rainbow of colors, creeds, nationalities, and both genders of all ages-- all gathered and with such hope and enthusiasm in their eyes and stances.

I can't even imagine a better way to move forward than with Barack Obama. He has captured our imaginations and has transformed a ho-hum sense of inevitable sameness within the political system into an electric, energetic, hope-filled movement.

He has a very large percentage of the world thinking "Yes, We Can!" again.

And yes -- we can -- with leadership like his!

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