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Labor Day 2008 in Detroit with Obama

I actually got to hear and see Senator Barack Obama in real life at Hart Plaza in Detroit. It was so great being among so many Obama supporters of all races and ages. Labor Day 2008 was very special for me. I stood for 3 hours in a snaking line of humanity thru the streets of downtown Detroit. Each of us gladly stood in the hot sun for the purpose of seeing and hearing Barack Obama. It was a beautiful thing…

I loved people watching. I particularly loved the creative expression of Obama support of a few attendees. The very coolest being a purse carried by Kisha Hill.

She said a friend of hers designed the hand painted wooden purse. It was truly a piece of art… perfect for the purse collector. Thanks for stopping for me, Kisha!

Then, there was this group of ladies who dressed alike in their homemade t-shirts with the likeness of Obama drawn in 3D fabric paint.

Being a secondary teacher, they just struck me as the poster-kids of adolescent peer culture and cliques—but, they were grown women (and were a positive clique in this case…) You GO, GIRLS! Keep representin'!!

Obama’s speech was very brief-- probably all of 10 minutes or so. Reports say the packed crowd numbered about 20,000 filled with union members from the UAW and the teamsters -- among others. I started out in my Utica Education Association t-shirt but by the time I actually got into Hart Plaza I had taken it off and was in my tank top for Obama's speech. It was a beautiful hot sunny summer weather 86 degrees.

As Obama took the stage and the mic, he got a few laughs from us all by singing a few bars from the song Chain of Fools by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. He came out singing, “Change, change, change. Change, change, change.”

First, Obama praised the contributions of the unions, which he said is the backbone of the middle class.

"It's because of organized labor we've got a minimum wage. It's because of organized labor we've got overtime and worker safety," he continued.

Then, Obama turned his attention to residents in the Gulf Coast. He said, "Instead of a speech, what I'd like to do is to ask all of us join in some silent prayer for all those Americans who are spending this Labor Day in a shelter waiting for another storm to pass." I was impressed when he asked for a moment of silence to remember those people in the Gulf Coast dealing with Hurricane Gustav. People around me were serious about following thru with his request shush-ing folks who hadn’t heard what Obama had said because of the poor sound quality in Hart Plaza. I did not appreciate the poor sound because normally sound quality is NOT a issue at Hart Plaza.

"We don't know what the impact of Hurricane Gustav will be," he said.

"We hope and we pray that it will not be as great as three years ago. We do know there will be damage, and that help will be needed.

"The spirit we just expressed, that's the spirit we have to have each and every day in America because there are a lot of people suffering quiet storms.

"The quiet storm of joblessness. The quiet storms of under-funded schools."

I thought it was pretty clever how Obama used the hurricane as a metaphor of the economic crises faced by many voters — the "quiet storm" of layoffs, home foreclosures and rising medical bills… to that I said, “AMEN.”

It was all very quick… but appropriate considering the circumstances of the hour, I thought. I do trust that others were probably disappointed. I was glad to be in the number on September 1, 2008 Labor Day in Detroit with US Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama. It was a very good day indeed…

Obama-Biden 2008


Tamirsmom said…
Hey thanks for adding me to your blog! It was a beautiful event. Senator Obama has moved so many people to think and use their own brains.....Before I forget Michelle Browder designed the purse. I will try and get her out here so the MI Obama supporters can rock a purse like with you soon!

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