Lines looping around several blocks before entering the outside venues where Barack Obama was scheduled to speak today was routine at each of his several stops in Philadelphia. We tried to get into Vernon Park to see him in germantown and was told the line was too long and we’d miss him. We scooted off to West Phila– 52nd and Locust only to find lines about the same length but at least here we had an extra half hour before he was scheduled to speak. We waited, and got to see him along with about 10,000 other folks wanting to experience history three weeks before the election.
Obama’s speech was playful and serious. He told the crowd about this mother in law’s sweet potato pie and suggested a pie making contest with Philly. He recognized that John McCain had tempered his language some in the last couple days, but that McCain remains out of touch and out of date.
But if Obama’s message today to West Philly could be condensed into one word, it is this: VOTE!
Obama wins if turnout in West Philly is high, because if it is high in West Philly it is likely to be high in Cleveland (Ohio), and Detroit (MIchigan) and Indianapolis (Indiana) and elsewhere in battleground states. With high turnout in these cities, he’ll win the states. (keep in mind the electoral college is winner take all by state, unlike many state nominating delegations which was proportional representation by district). Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Indianapolis would look really nice colored blue.
But there is another message too. And here’s why this day was so important for me. I used to live near this neighborhood about 20 years ago. I love Philly. I went to school near here, used to work here, and enjoyed eating and hanging in local restaurants around 53rd St. I visited only a couple times since, but have never experienced people here as joyful as they were today. Didn’t matter their race, ethnicity, gender or age, people were talking and laughing and smiling and joking around as if… just as if we knew each other real well. As we were leaving, this elderly woman, african american, was dancing on her front porch with her grandson. She was saying. “can you believe it? can you believe it?”
Only three weeks away.
See feed of Obama\’s West Philly Appearance