Blogs > Sun Insider

News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The stadium speech

After giving his acceptance speech. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves to the crowd as he exits the podium at Invesco Field in Denver during the final day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
(AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez - Rocky Mountain News)

Sun Special Correspondent

DENVER-- The first bus to Invesco Field at Mile High, the scene of Barack Obama's acceptance speech, was full and crowded. At 1:30 we left the holels in Broomfield. We arrived 45 minutes later at the stadium parking to summer heat and long lines. It took an hour to get through security and nearly two hours start to finish to find a seat 10 rows in front of the giant scoreboard in the south end zone of the football stadium.
The crowd was building and I wondered if Obama could fill the 76,000 seat stadium. It turned out yes and no. Because thousands were seated on the field, the crowd was estimated at 85,000, but there were several thousand seats empty in the stands. None around me.

Obama and his family celebrate on stage after Obama delivered his speech.
(AP Photo/The Rocky Mountain News, Darin McGregor)

The names of Denver Bronco greats are posted around the stadium. It reminded me of taking my father, the late Harvey H. Hartman, a big Bronco fan and a longtime Colorado resident, to the last game in the old Mile High Stadium. It was nearly a decade ago. As my father taught me to treat all persons equally and to be rid of all manner of prejudices, I felt he would be proud that this event featuring the first black major party presidential nominee was being held in Denver and that I was in attendance.


Obama continued to cater to the young by inviting folks to text message their names and states and had a competition to see which state had the most hits. It also gathered a list of supporters and attendees for future campaign purposes.


Obama's catch phrase "yes, we can," seemed to be an evolved version of Black civil right leader Jesse Jackson's "I am somebody."

Unidentified people watch as Obama delivers his speech.
(AP Photo/The Rocky Mountain News, Barry Guiterrez)

Sheryl Crow got the crowd rocking singing about change, winding roads and sunny days. Many folks sang along.

*** was plastered throughout the stadium. I guess if one is planning to run for president some day, it would be wise to reserve one's name as a domain name.

Obama, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and their families celebrate onstage after Obama's acceptance speech.
(AP Photo/Preston Gannaway/Rocky Mountain News)

I tuned to NPR for a while. One radio reporter found it interesting that attendees were eating stadium food like nachos and hot dogs. Another commented on the beautiful sunset on the perfectly clear day in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. An third praised the Democrats for magnificent stagecraft, a la a football bowl game. A black woman told a reporter the Obama would be a good role model for black children. I think that is why Oprah Winfrey risked her fame endorsing Obama. She believed it would be good for the black community from a sociological perspective.

Colorado Delegate Vivian Stovall of Denver reacts as Obama speaks on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.
(AP Photo/Cyrus McCrimmon - The Denver Post)

In front of me, a young black man gets his picture taken holding a U.S. flag and a "Change" sign. The pride that blacks feel in Obama was palpable. In the basement press area after the event, a young black male photographer threw off his veil of objectivity and walked out of the building holding a change sign aloft. It was a magical day for black Americans, and for all Americans who believe that folks should be judged by their character and accomplishments, not by the color of their skin.


Somewhere, up there, Harvey H. Hartman is smiling.

(John C. Hartman is a Central Michigan University journalism professor who is blogging about the Democratic National Convention for the Morning Sun.)
(Editor's note: Hartman sent this early Friday, but technical difficulties prevented us from posting it until Sunday. Jack made his deadline.)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home