George Mason University students gathered in the Johnson Center Atrium on August 28 to watch the final evening of the Democratic National Convention. The night culminated in Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic Nomination for President.
Tim Kaine kicked off the night in Denver, CO followed by former Vice President Al Gore and his denunciation of the exhausted politics of the past. Gore likened both Obama’s legislative experience and his third way politics to those of his fellow Illinois forefather, Abraham Lincoln. His message: Obama is the future of American politics. Response amongst the youth to Obama’s message is proof that the bi-partisan divide will fall.
Following Al Gore’s speech, in the JC, Gerry Connolly, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and and Democratic contender for Congress, took the stage in support of Barack Obama’s presidential run. “What was improbable six months ago is on the horizon today,” said congressman Connolly. He called upon Mason students to support the Democratic ticket in Virginia: Barack Obama, Mark Warner, and Gerry Connolly. Connolly stressed the importance that the youth should be active in the change they want to see.
Back in Denver, Senator Joseph Biden followed Obama’s presidential endorsement by top military officials. Biden did not introduce the presidential nominee, but rather, introduced the everyday supporters of Obama. Biden claimed, “These are the people who will elect Mr. Obama…and when we are in the White House, we will make sure that their voices are always heard.”
Anticipation mounted for Obama’s appearance as “Power to the People!” blasted in the background and spotlights danced across Mile High Stadium like the halftime show at the Superbowl. Music, flag waving, dancing, and lip syncing ensued in Denver in the minutes before the Illinois Senator Dick Durbin took the stage.
Durbin spoke to Obama’s political integrity. “He built,” he said, “his political career from anonymity to the presidential nomination on his belief that we could live in a better nation.”
The JC atrium was sparsely populated at 8:30pm but by 10:00pm there wasn’t an empty seat to be found. Obama arrived on the Denver stage to overwhelming applause—applause so loud it delayed his speech. He was spurred on by Mason Democrats, sending him their support through cheers and whistles.
After thanking his wife, children and running mate, Obama quickly launched into an attack of Senator John McCain’s policies. “What does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right over 90% of the time?” asked Obama of McCain. “We cannot afford a 10% chance of change.”
Obama launched into an attack of McCain’s promotion of stoic individualism and called it a policy of “on your own.” McCain might call Americans a nation of whiners but privatization under McCain, claimed Obama, would really result in the revocation of governmental responsibility for the basic necessities of its citizens. “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots,” quipped Obama about McCain’s economic vision.
Obama asserted that he does not want to feed into the cynicism that people have about politics and admitted that he does not have the typical pedigree of a presidential candidate. But, he said, “what the naysayers have never understood is that this election is not about me, it is about YOU.”
“The government should help us, not hurt us…that is the promise of America. That is the change we can believe in.”
Photo by Christian Yingling