Monday, October 25, 2010

What You Didn't See on the News...

Close to forty thousand people showed up to see President Obama at the USC rally I attended last Friday. It was peaceful and orderly- no drama. Today I can find NO COVERAGE by any major network or news outlet. Now had it been twenty people from the Tea Party, it would have been on every TV channel. Just goes to show you how our media works. Only drama sells.

As we stood for hours in lines that stretched on for eight city blocks, I noticed first how positive and happy everyone was. People showed up with their young children, babies in strollers, grandmothers in wheelchairs. There were young college students and silver-haired couples, buses full of school children. Everyone was smiling, excited, chatting with one another about our President, his integrity, how he’s kept his campaign promises and continues to do so. Forty thousand people getting along. Happy.

And no media – no cameras, no film crews, anywhere.

When we finally proceeded inside USCAlumni Park, it was a human sea of bodies pressed tight together, everyone trying to get closer to where the President would soon stand. And yet, not once was there a fight, no shouting matches, nothing. Peaceful. Forty thousand people.

There was a group of young Republicans standing outside the entrance holding signs “We’ll knock the left out with a HARD RIGHT.” No one said anything to them, just walked past. I had no problem with them being there. America is a two party system, but it just bothers me how aggressive and sometimes violent their slogans are ( RELOAD, AIM …). It’s just unnecessary. How about some good ideas on those signs instead? Don’t have any?

For the seven hours I was there, I searched the crowd for signs of news media, and saw nothing but a Fox News truck. They must have been hoping to catch some negative drama. Sorry guys.

The rally was so exciting. The crowd was pumped up, and started spontaneously chanting OBAMA OBAMA….Let me tell you, forty thousand voices in unison is pretty thrilling when you’re standing in the middle of it. Jamie Foxx was the emcee. He was taking videos of us chanting for his twitter feed. Next was a concert of world music, then speeches by our local democratic candidates – Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. (Jerry Brown quoted Ghandi in his speech. I like that in a candidate.)

And finally…what we’d all been waiting hours for - President Obama. The crowd’s cheers were deafening. It was such a thrilling moment. The President gave an inspiring speech, as he always does. One of the things he said that stuck with me was “I know many of you are thinking back to Inauguration night, the celebration, the party…but I told you then the road ahead was going to be hard. I told you – power concedes nothing without a fight.” I remember him saying that and I remind people when they start to criticize him for not getting everything crossed off his To-Do list after two years. Give the guy a break. I mean, aside from the mess he inherited, he’s had pirates and flu epidemics and oil spills. I mean, he’s not Superman. But the overall message was – don’t get tired. Not now. Don’t give up on our mission. Don’t get discouraged. Stand up, be counted, vote!

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