Yesterday I went to see President Obama; today my photo on the front page of the student newspaper. Has it hit me yet? …Not really. Note: I always end up writing these things when I’m dead-tired so I can’t infuse this post with all the jittery wild warm happiness that imbued all of yesterday and mostly today. So just take my word for it when I say it was goddamn incredible.
Aronnd noon, my friends and I Lyfted over to the rally. We got in line, went through security, and I skipped around photographing people at the rally. It was my second political rally (in a week!) and I’m starting to realize how much I love these things. One: they’re perfect photojournalism fodder. Two: the people there are so great and impassioned and friendly. The people around me, in particular, were quite kind–I’m short and so crowds are usually the worst, but they saw me screaming my head off with a giant camera and helped usher me closer to the front. Later, I collected their emails so I could send them the photos.
Then, of course, the President (!). I still haven’t come to terms with the reality: I saw the President. I heard the President. I watched him wave around on stage and denounce Trump and laud Clinton and tally up all the progress this nation’s made during his terms. But I didn’t cry. See, every time I see Obama on television I cry a little, no lie, but not this time. And it wasn’t television, it was real life; he was right there in front of me. Cracking jokes in all seriousness, yelling “love you too” to some person in the crowd, talking about gas prices, tax records, Clinton’s BAMF record. I totally lost my shit when he stepped out. Started screaming at the top of my lungs because I do that when I’m shocked. “Yup, he’s basically a rock star,” somebody said beside me.
He’s just as magnetic, impassioned and eloquent in real life as he is on television.
I have photos, videos, articles, quotes, emails, a recollection of my being there, proof I was there, but they’re like puzzle pieces that haven’t yet fit together into an image of Realization. The gravity of it–the personal gravity, anyways–hasn’t sunk in yet. I guess I’m just saying that this means so much to me I can’t even begin to fathom how much it means to me. That’s why I think other students saying, “oh, I couldn’t go, I had class” is just absurd–turning down an opportunity to see one of the most powerful people and figures in history fifteen minutes away because, oh, class?!? If we’re talkin’ class, I’d miss a midterm to see Obama, flunk an assignment to see Obama, and that’s just the start. When I’m older, I’m not going to give half a shit about that one class I had at 1:30 on September 13th, but I won’t forget the time I saw and photographed Obama. I won’t forget that during the last year of his term, he was here, and I was there, and that I had the chance to see and listen to him in real life. The President. And not just any president–President Obama, yo.
Ten minutes before his speech ended, HF motioned for us to go. It was perfect timing; we snaked through the crowd and slipped out right as the gates closed. The weather was beautiful, so we stopped by CVS to grab drinks and walked through the city back to campus. For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop dancing or wanting to dance. Obama, Obama, Obama.