"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


you say o-ba-mah, i say o-bah-ma

I ususally go to Washington on this weekend. The leaves are changing, the weather is cool, and my friends actually have free time. It's always a nice dose of real fall, and it's especially fun in an election year. But this year, I couldn't justify it, what with the fact that I spent the whole summer there, and that I'm traveling most of November.

This weekend, though, a little bit of Washington came to Austin. Senator Barak Obama spoke at the Texas Book Festival on Saturday morning. The speech was in the House Chamber at the capitol. In order to get a seat for the speech, you had to get in line for the wristband distribution, which was at 8am, then wait for the speech at 10. Inaccurate reports in the Statesman nonwithstanding, the first people in line arrived around 2am. I got there at about 6:30, and if I had been about ten minutes later, we wouldn't have gotten wristbands.

Anyway, after that, we had to go to the capitol to wait outside, then they let us inside to (guess what?) wait in yet another line. All to see a politician.

Was it worth it? Well. To say that the crowd was adoring would be an understatement:

This was the crowd before Obama was even introduced.

His speech was overall okay. I liked the substance, which was about hope, bridging divides, and a politics that might have to do with both.

But the delivery was flat and disappointing. He told us that he'd been on tour and hadn't seen his daughters in two weeks. I'm sure he'd taken the red-eye in from the previous day's engagement in L.A. You can see that Evan Smith, who introduced Obama, looked bored. But the crowd loved it, and interrupted Obama's speech with applause time after time. At any rate, I'm glad I got to see what all the fuss is about. And I do hope he'll run for president someday. This speech did not convince me that he's our generation's Bobby Kennedy, but we'll see.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, I saw Obama here in Los Angeles at USC Friday afternoon. He is getting around. Probably the same speech and based on what he wrote for his book. Much enthusiasm here as well. The speech was a little flat, but I was very impressed with the excerpt I read from the book where he talks about his spiritual journey.


Sunday, October 29, 2006 6:34:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Thanks, Carlos. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but I liked the piece in Time. We'll see what happens!

Sunday, October 29, 2006 7:08:00 PM


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