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Last Night at the Convention: Barack's Speech

Thursday night, Aug. 28th, history was made. The Democrats nominated an African American man for president. The event was attended by 84,000 people.

Here's what it felt like to be there. Shuttles to the Invesco Stadium began at 1pm. (Barack wasn't speaking until 8 p.m.) I left at 2:30 p.m. After arriving at the stadium we waited in line for an hour in the sun. Thankfully, the local firefighters passed out water bottles. Once inside, we moved quickly through security.

I arrived inside at 4:30. All delegates were seated in the middle of the playing field- again in the sun. Great seats but little room to walk around as there had been in the Pepsi Center. I spent the next five hours in my seat as delegates who tried to leave were not allowed back on the floor. We had only snacks to eat. This took commitment!

We heard more speeches again. Highlights included Bill Richardson and Al Gore. In between we listened to some of my favorite musicians- Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder. Delegates danced and waved flags. When Michael McDonald played and sang "America The Beautiful" we sang and swayed with our arms around each other.

Next came the video once again detailing Barack's personal story. Then he appeared and began by accepting the nomination to roars of approval. In his speech he accomplished 3 things. Having been criticized for being soft, Barack went on the attack accusing McCain of supporting Bush's failed policies 90% of the time and that he doesn't understand what is happening to Americans. McCain's ideas are grounded in the past. Barack challenged him on the issue of being commander in Chief and declared that he, Barack, had the judgement and experience to do the job.

Having also been criticized for not being specific on his plans, Barack laid out an agenda for change for the 21st century. Following are just some of the ideas he offered: tax breaks for working families; ending our dependence on foreign oil and developing alternative energy sources; creating a world class educational system and increasing teachers salaries; equal pay for equal work; eliminating discrimination against gays and lesbians; and ending the war in Iraq while restoring our moral standing around the world.

Finally, it was about the American dream and this is where Barack's speech soared. "This is a defining moment in history. What is the American promise?" he asked. "We need a renewed sense of individual responsibility; each of us must do our part. Our sense of community purpose has been lost. There is a promise of democracy but it requires community effort. We need fresh ideas. Government can't do it all. America is a better country than this." He was challenging us!

Then he took our spirits higher. "All across America something is happening. This elections isn't about me, but about you. Change happens because people demand it. Change is coming."

He concluded by invoking Martin Luther King's speech 45 years ago. "There is work to do. We cannot walk alone as we march into the future."

It was an inspirational speech and a call for a new and different future.

Footnote: Most Dem. conventions end with balloons descending from the ceiling. Barack did it his way: fireworks, streamers and paper stars. It was a beautiful ending to a demanding week.

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