A very passionate and articulate young man (he's only four months older than I am) who wants to be our next president held a rally in a park in my neighborhood on Saturday morning. We got up early and stood in line for hours with thousands of our neighbors to hear him speak.
In the twenty minutes or so that he was at the microphone he spoke on many important issues of the day, first and foremost, of course, being the economy, but also education, health care, energy, and the environment. He also spoke eloquently on the role of personal responsibility, stressing that government alone could not solve the massive problems facing the country.
He spoke to us, not at us. The crowd, which was truly a cross section of the culture ethnically and racially, was one, with him the way crowds are with rock stars or evangelist preachers, interrupting his discourse with whoops and hollers, chants, enthusiastic applause. He is, after all, one of the most powerful speakers of our time.
Afterwards, thousands had to figure their way out of the park. A large contingent of us surged toward the edge of a field that looked like a promising exit onto the street. When we got there, we found we were at the top of a wall, maybe five feet above the sidewalk. Not a problem. An ad hoc system was established. Those over the wall first turned and helped the strangers following them. Smiling faces, arms reaching up, words of encouragement for the unsure. We all made it. Amazing what we Americans can do when we work together.
Barack Obama, Vernon park, Saturday morning.