LJWorld.com weblogs Angell at My Table

My Experience at the Obama Rally


I'd never been to a political rally before, but something about this election year made me think it just might be time for me to take an interest. So, when I heard Senator Obama was going to be in Kansas City, I rounded up the necessary babysitting and registered online for a ticket. Easy, huh? Well, not exactly. The rally was supposed to start at 5:45 and doors opened at 3:45. I got there at 4 o'clock and entered a packed foyer for the Municipal Auditorium. It was a sizeable crowd, but I figured once we could spread out in the auditorium it wouldn't be too bad. I should have known better. About 20 minutes later, a distant voice informed the crowd that we would be filing in from one side of the room, so now was the time to form a line. Now was the time? How can you form a line in a room that was packed with people?By some stroke of luck, I just happened to be on the side of the room that was entering. And this Obama crowd was a pretty tame and civil bunch. No one pushed or shoved their way toward the opening we were filtering out of. Hey, I was almost crushed at a Bauhaus concert once, so this was a piece of cake, right?Again, not exactly. Unbeknownst to anyone in the crowded room above, the small opening we were filtering out of did not signify the end. It was the only the beginning. What awaited us was a labyrinth of horrors designed to torture Obama supporters and undecideds alike for the next hour and a half of our lives. We were ushered through a long line in a parking lot only to discover that this line did not lead to a destination but was a loop that would come full circle. The looks of horror on people's faces and the "oh my god's" were only amusing when you were on the returning side of this circle.After 45 minutes of this rat experiment maze, we were thrilled to be back inside the building. Then we discovered there was yet another loop to go through! At this point, I began to wonder what had happened to me in the last eight years of my life. Waiting for Peter Murphy was one thing, but doing all this to see a senator of Illinois- what was wrong with me?http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/30/marloobama.jpgEventually, we I made it to the auditorium just before Governor Sebelius and Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri took the stage, looking like the Obamettes. Sebelius was much more animated than she was the night before. Jon Stewart would have been proud. And Obama? He was a great speaker, and I soon forgot about the waiting. (I wonder if you could say the same thing after waiting for Mitt Romney). But I may have been paying too much attention to election coverage because a lot of Obama's talking points were familiar to me. I was not swept away in quite the same way I was when listening to his Jefferson Jackson speech on the radio. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/30/obama2.jpgPeople really responded to his idea of getting rid of income tax on seniors making under $50,000 a year. And his comments about including pre-existing conditions in health care coverage got the crowd riled up after his personal story about his mother.The part that I found most memorable was when he spoke about the Kennedy endorsement. He said it was not so much a passing the torch from the Kennedys to him, but from their generation to the next generation. This sentiment really resonated with me as I was amazed to see how much of the crowd here tonight was made up of young people. My generation has grown up in the shadow of the 60's. We contrast that time of conviction and passion with the malaise that we feel about our current state of affairs. We are rather cynical about our government, but have yet to have our spirit awakened to do anything about it. Tonight, Obama called for us to end this cynicism and look for a new hope (he's talking Star Wars here: he must speak to us, right?)I have a new respect for the people you see on CNN at these political gatherings. So, sure my feet hurt and yes, I witnessed an an asthma attack and a near fainting in which Obama himself had to intervene to get the woman a chair. But, ultimately, I think it was worth it to make the headlines personal and take an active part in something rather than just watching it on television. A Bauhaus concert it wasn't. But a piece of history? Maybe. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jan/30/obama_pic.jpg


Ronda Miller 10 years, 3 months ago

Good for you Marlo, to have the conviction to attend something such as this and report back on it. Interesting and informative. Thank you

How was Obama at working the crowd after the speech?

Pattie Johnston 10 years, 3 months ago

Having attended a rally years ago and having a similar but different experience (We were funneled onto an airport tarmack in the sun, wearing funny little boater hats, waving signs and cheering for what we thought was the candidate because we were too far from the front to know that it wasn't him but since it was a whole bunch of us, I didn't feel quite so silly and besides, we got the television cameras as the "crowd response" because it was too congested for them at the front.), it is worth experiencing a part of the political process that is generally seen only on TV. Hearing a candidate in person is very different than just the sound bytes even if you are familiar with what is being said. You get to see the candidate relate to people and that can be quite eye-opening. Good job Marlo in going to the rally. Thanks for sharing.

antney 10 years, 3 months ago

Its amazing to see so many young people come out to support Barrack Obama. He is a great speaker for sure but his draw is that he offers so much hope for America.

His plan for universal health care appeals to young people starting out in life who can't get the full time jobs with health benefits.

His plan to subsidize education to those willing to join the Peace Corps or become teachers appeal to young people who can't afford school and want to make a difference in the world

His plan to care for the thousands of wounded veterans appeals to the young people who served their country proudly.

Yes. Barrack Obama has rock star appeal but there is also substance behind his words. Check out his website if you want to learn more.

Marlo Angell 10 years, 3 months ago

Ronda, I am not sure how much he worked the crowd after the event since I had to leave pretty quickly to get back to my kids. There was a lot of energy in the room, so it was hard to leave!

Thanks, antney, for the information in your post. I wrote this as a personal experience, so it was probably a bit weak on the issue side since I knew where he stood on policy before going to the event. For me, what was more eye opening was the personal connection and how he conveyed such a feeling of optimism to the youth. But yes, I agree, people should go to his website for more info.

raiderssb 10 years, 3 months ago

Good for you - you actually got in. My children, ages 22 and 27, and I lined up, waited, and waited, but eventually @6:00 pm we were told the Senator was on his way from the airport, and that those of us still in the open entry way should go across the street to wait in the "open area". (In other words on the parking garage rooftop - bitterly cold but still there was enormous enthusiasm.) This collection of old, young, black, white and everything in between was very motivating, and uplifting. I am encouraged we have this candidate, and despite a venue much too small for his adoring public, I will caucus for Barack Obama, and encourage others to do likewise. Rock Chalk Barack!!

kthxbi 10 years, 3 months ago

raiderssb, you were in the same area as my little bro. I was so excited when he told me he was going. He has never been interested in anything like this before. I take credit, however, for igniting his Obama luv. I'll be caucusing for him too!

Obama. Not my brother

Paul Decelles 10 years, 3 months ago

Wonderful! And great pictures as well. There are more posted on the Obama web site at: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/CGjBy

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 3 months ago

We're huge supporters in my family and we'll see the rest of you on caucus night! Today, Tom Daschle is doing an Obama event at Miltons (!) on Mass St. that starts at 3:15.

Mkh 10 years, 3 months ago

Can Obama supporters please explain to me why he is so inspiring? In terms of substance, not just his sppech rhetoric, which I admit is good. I'm not trying to bash him either, I honestly don't get why he represents "hope" or "change". He seems like another status-quo candidate to me. I understand why Dems would choose him over Hillary, but that has everything to with her and not him. Please enlighten me....

tashtego 10 years, 3 months ago

I suggest that you read Andrew Sullivan's article about Obama in The Atlantic. Sullivan is a gay Catholic conservative who formerly supported Bush and the war in Iraq. But he's very smart and convincing in this article.

See it here:


BigPrune 10 years, 3 months ago

Ann Coulter will campaign for Hillary if John McCain gets the Republican nomination. If you don't know who she is, well, she's a conservative republican.


Mkh 10 years, 3 months ago

Sorry tashtego but that article from the Atlantic is exactly what I don't understand about the Obama campaign. Nothing of substance, just rhetoric until the writer has the nerve to say that the best thing Obama has going is his black face and that his name sounds Muslim. I mean come on, is this really why people are supporting Obama? This article made me want to vomit, as does the endless media glitz on Obama and race. It's disturbing how that is all anyone can focus on about the guy, his race and how "well spoken" he sounds.

How is Obama different than any other Establishment Democrat besides his black face and how his name sounds? Or has anyone not even thought about that yet?

Yeah he gave an anti-war campaign speech when running for Ill. state senate...so what? He has done nothing but continue to fund the war since he got into office. He supports an eventual withdrawl of combat troops, but only to redeploy them to other "theaters" in the "war on terror". This is still the imperialistic foreign policy of the Establishment.

And that is suppose to be his big issue that sets him apart. Everything else he tows the Establishment line.

I just don't get it. Can anyone explain to me what dramtic change this guy brings to the table besides superficial BS like race and his name?

average 10 years, 3 months ago

By redeployment, I think he means, pretty clearly, doing the damn job in Afghanistan. You know, that country that we had a legitimate quarrel with. The one who harbored terrorists. The one where we had the broad-based coalition. The one that we are now weeks if not days away from having lost entirely to the Taliban.

He did not give an anti-war speech in 2002. He gave an anti-unnecessary and unplanned war speech. That, I agree with.

Mkh 10 years, 3 months ago

Yes I have heard of Afghanistan, thanks for the recap. However, I'm not sure exactly what "job" you are referring to, or what proof you have of a legitimate cause to occupy that country; or even how that policy is not imperalistic.

If you recall, the original authorization to go into Afghanistan was soley in order to capture those "responsible for 9/11" and gave no legal authority to occupy the country or to establish a puppet government run by former oil partners.

average 10 years, 3 months ago

To capture those responsible, which I think we were right to do, we had to depose those who gave aid and sanctuary to those responsible. You can argue whether we should or shouldn't have. I think we should have, but I fully understand and respect your reasons for thinking we shouldn't have. But, the vast majority of Americans, and that includes Obama and myself thought it was right.

Our failure to properly deploy units there is a slap to the peace-loving countries of the world (Canada for one) who felt that cause was just, and a slap to the Afghanis who worked with us to accomplish the goal of "capturing those responsible" and are now being killed for having worked with the United States. 3800 Marines now is too little, too late.

Alia Ahmed 10 years, 3 months ago

Please, Ann Coulter, don't campaign for Hillary, it will only hurt her chances.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 3 months ago

Mkh, I understand your questions to Obama supporters. I have the same and I still haven't heard or read anything to change my mind.

He sounds like all the other politicians. And, believe me, Barack Obama will not change Washington D.C. He's in for a big surprise if he thinks he will.

The only candidate that stands out, while speaking the same BS rhetoric, is Hillary and only because she is a woman.

I wish it were a different woman, but I'm ready to see a woman in charge and Hill's the best we've got. Oh, and I am no a woman. Really.

average 10 years, 3 months ago


Just because a group endorses someone does not necessarily mean s/he endorses them. Plenty of groups with very minority positions endorse Republican candidates, too. Free speech is a btch that way.

Ch1mpL0gic 10 years, 3 months ago

Mkh -- The best articles I've read on the Obama phenomenon come from Frank Rich, who in my opinion is the sharpest op-ed columnist at the New York Times (or, arguably, anywhere). His discussion of the campaigns in his Sunday columns includes a lot of coverage on Obama and why he inspires. Check out Rich's articles, starting with "They Didn't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/opinion/06rich.html

The full index of his recent op-ed pieces is at http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/frankrich/index.html

Commenting has been disabled for this item.