Saturday, August 23, 2008

Denver: Day One

Got my personal e-mail (I'm not of the SMS generation) from Obama just as I left for the airport announcing the Biden pick. At first blush I feel pretty good about it, but have been too busy to think much or to absorb the pundit chatter. Over the past week I must have been asked by at least 15 people who I thought the VP would be -- as if I had any insider info. Sure. Barack would be sure to tell me before Wolf Blitzer.

Smooth flying: Raleigh-Dallas-Denver.My husband and I wore our Obama buttons which generated beaucoups smiles and thumbs up. Met a Democratic Party volunteer and fellow delegate on my flight out. Very good vibes.

One flight attendant on the second leg was a huge Obama supporter. He just gushed and asked for pointers on becoming a delegate in 2012 to re-elect Obama. Another whispered as I left the plane, "Kiss Bill for me, but don't let Hillary see you." Had a spirited talk with a Maine delegate on the plane which made me appreciate all the wonderful support we receive from the NC State Democratic Party (thanks, Julia Lee) -- apparently not the case in other states. A Manhattan activist asked about the Kay Hagen (running for Senator against Elizabeth Dole) campaign. Seems New Yorkers are excited about her chances.

The only negative note: I overheard 2 pilots talking on the jetway: "Biden hates pilots. Since 9-11. And he really hates airlines." Not sure what that is all about.

Arrival at Denver International Airport was stirring. We were met at baggage claim by 30 or more smiling Obama volunteers -- cheering, waving signs and so anxious to help. I felt enveloped by their spirit and by the sense that I was among people who share my values and my vision. It was such a powerful feeling that it made me cry. I think I cried because I realized how alone it feels to be a progressive in the South -- to be alienated from the larger social reality: conservative, Bible Belt, and on such a totally different wave length I never know where to start, how to connect.

Anyway, a warning: I am very emotional. When I'm emotional, I cry. I will cry a lot over the next few days. If a few like-minded folks have this effect, what will it be like at the Pepsi Center surrounded by thousands. I fully expect C-SPAN to catch me bawling.

The rest of the day:
We rented a car and are staying at a modest hotel 30 miles or so south of downtown. Made a detour to a highly recommended Mexican hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a very Latino neighborhood: Tacos Y Salsas. Rates among the best Mexican food I ever had. Six different kinds of salsas available -- 3 red; 3 green. All incendiary. All delicious. A guy is outside cutting a huge slab of meat. So fresh.

My Obama button prompted another delightful conversation with a couple of Obama canvassers taking a break from voter registration work in the neighborhood. Warm and very welcoming.

It feels wonderful to be here. For a few days a little oasis of Democrats -- in the America of my dreams.

1 comment:

somanybooks said...

You made ME cry! Good work on the writing--I feel like I'm there with you!