My wife Marsha tricked me into going to the Obama rally in Hyde Park Saturday. She told me that the gates opened at 4 p.m., and the program began at 4:30 p.m. I went to law school at the U of C, so I thought we’d visit the old haunts, reminisce a bit and see the President. What she didn’t tell me was that we’d have to wait in line for a couple of hours, and then listen to some local rock and rollers warm us up for another hour. Their songs were like Brandy Alexanders – the first couple were pretty good, but after 10 I was ready to throw up.
Eventually the rally got started. I’m estimating a crowd of about 25,000. The mix was pretty diverse – black and white, young and old, men and women, and committed and just curious. Put it this way: there were several people singing along with the rapper Common. Do you think any Tea Partier knows any of Common’s songs?
Mayor Daley gave a real stem-winder. I know he’s corrupt, but I love the guy, even more now that he is leaving. Tony P, who’s running for Cook County Board, was very good. Too bad she isn’t running for Senator or Governor. Then there was Lexi G who gave a nice speech if he had been running for President of the Student Council at Barrington High School. Governor Quinn tried hard, but didn’t seem very smart. You could see why the Dark Prince Mike Madigan must eat him for a snack.
Finally, Barack came on and gave a ‘fire up the party’ speech that was predictably long on passion and short on details. The man has serious charisma, and of course, the crowd loved him. I must admit that I love the guy too, but not for his policies. If he were considerably more liberal or conservative, I’d be fine with that. In fact, if he were a Muslim, born in Africa with a Socialist agenda I would support him.
He’s my guy because he’s the only authentic person in politics. He’s real. He plays basketball. His favorite TV show is “The Wire”. He tries to be a real Dad and husband. Moreover, he’s smart, analytic and evidence-based. He’s our last best hope. If he can’t solve the huge systemic environmental, international and economic problems the country faces, then we are seriously screwed.
As so often happens Marsha’s dumb idea turned out pretty good. We had fun. Barack was only the second President I had ever seen live and in person. My Dad took me to see JFK speak at Freedom Hall in 1962. That was a long time ago.