Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Obama Super Tuesday: feeling history

My friends and I did the due diligence of standing on line for 3.5 hours then standing inside the Boston World Trade Center for 2 hours to see Barack Obama and John Kerry and Ted and Caroline Kennedy + Governor Deval Patrick and Fitchburg mayor Lisa Wong speak that the ultimate rally before super Tuesday. According to the governor’s site 10,000 people came out.
Having spent a lot of time in virtual worlds and wonking about on
copresence¬¬¬¬––mediated real-time exchange––I thought it would be very nice to see face-to-face what I am used to seeing almost exclusively on television and Internet: participatory democracy in action. (I am an Obama supporter. I do what to see the possibilities of the change he envisions.)
Hearing all the politicians speak at length and without commercial interruption or Youtube attention span was gratifying. I like that Obama loves to talk with people. The direct address, the energy, and the good sense are…exciting as hell. But the most electrifying aspect of the gathering was the crowd.

On TV you don’t get the intensity of the range of people or the individual face. You only get the crowd. It felt historic to stand side-by-side with such an electrified group of people. The racial diversity, the signs of class divergence, the different generations all focused on making a moment come true. That said, this does feel like a generational battle. Fired up. Yep. Regardless of the results, this love fest will have done the assembled good. People looked not just at the stage but at each other. If Obama has helped with something it is at the very least calling the assembly––reminding people that we are at our best as a community.

When I went to vote in Somerville today, midmorning, my fellow Americans were comprised primarily of the over 70 crowd. They represented for me classic blue collar New England Democrats. Have to say, they were fired up too. Come on, they were there in bad weather and voting on a race that hardly addresses them. Would they have liked Monday night’s rally. I say why not. Mutual respect, governor. If the collective fandom makes Obama into a demagogue then that’s missing the point. This is the time for conversation¬¬¬¬ and the more perspectives the better. Hilary Clinton
won the Massachusetts primary despite all youthful enthusiasm for Obama.

The Times bloggers seem to favor Obama too, as all they could say about the Clinton win was $$$$.

9:27 p.m. | Money, Money, Money Here’s a hint about Mrs. Clinton’s strong showing in Mass. She way outspent Mr. Obama on television. Per the Campaign Media Analysis Group: She ran 309 spots, costing $65,000, compared with 120 spots by Mr. Obama, who spent $27,000. That spending in Massachusetts is from Jan. 2007 through Feb. 3, 2008.