Thursday, February 14, 2008

Madison Obama Rally

Matt's perspective: Since I have never been to a political rally and we are hosting an intern from another country, I thought attending the Barack Obama rally in Madison last night would be a cultural experience. We waited in line outside in the bitter cold for about 30 min, raced to barely get seats, waited another hour and a half for a 30 min speech. This is an interesting country we live in. Aside from any political feelings for and or against him, Barack is an amazing speaker; articulate and a small town pastor speaking to his congregation. It was a lot of fun and I am really glad I went but a little disappointed my request for a press pass was submitted to late. Click here to see more photos

Sarah's perspective: So I have to admit, I've been very intrigued and excited about the overall presidential election campaign. I don't remember ever being so excited about a campaign since I was required to pay attention to the Clinton/Bush/Perot debates back in Junior High! Regardless of my political leanings (which I wont divulge here), it was fun to go to the rally. Other than watch a few debates on TV, I've never attended anything remotely resembling this in my life and it was fun to watch a master orator at work.

It's been interesting to see how much the idea of hope/change has become a part of all three of the major campaigns. And while Obama has defiantly capitalized on that the most, all three have in many ways tried to instill a sense of hope in the future. Even at the rally, you could sense how much people desired hope and were looking to grasp a hold of a better future. The fact that more than 19,000 people of a very mix age group showed up, waited in line for more than 1 hour in 5 degree weather just to get in, and then another hour just to hear a guy speak for 20 minutes has got to say something about how much people are looking for hope.

In regards to hope, I do admire what Obama said in regards to hope during his speech. It's something I haven't heard many people (political or non) admit about the reality of hope. Obama stated:
"Hope is not blind optimism. I know how hard it will be to make these changes. I know this because I fought on the streets of Chicago as a community organizer to bring jobs to the jobless in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant. I’ve fought in the courts as a civil rights lawyer to make sure people weren’t denied their rights because of what they looked like or where they came from. I’ve fought in the legislature to take power away from lobbyists. I’ve won some of those fights, but I’ve lost some of them too. I’ve seen good legislation die because good intentions weren’t backed by a mandate for change.

The politics of hope does not mean hoping things come easy. Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can."

In today's world, continuing to have hope is something that is not easy. Yet I believe we can still have hope, as long as we are willing to take a stand in the ways God calls us to. I still have hope, not because of any politician but because of God and because of the remarkable things students and the alumni I work with have done because of God's call on their life. While the rally was remarkable, I left saddened that very rarely do you see such similar passion from an entire city searching for hope where true hope lies: the church.

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