I voted yesterday, but I didn't get a sticker. Sniffle.
Yesterday, while looking for another CD, callicrates found the koledy CD, which had been missing for a few years. I immediately put it into the Mac and ripped it. I made an interesting discovery -- five of the tracks are repeated. This ended up being a good thing, since the final track had problems and cut off in the middle of a song.
It was interesting. The subject of the rally was voting early, and they really meant it. Every two minutes or so a volunteer went up and down the line asking if people had voted yet and, if not, encouraged them to do so. One of the early voting sites was in the student union, so those who wanted to didn't have far to walk. I didn't vote because I didn't want to lose my place in line.
I got there about four hours before they opened the field, and it was a good thing I did. I was able to see Sen. Obama, albeit more of a shape than anything. The official fire marshal estimate was 45,000 people, and I believe not all of them fit on the field. I was surprised at how smoothly security went, even/especially with a zillion or so (metal) Obama buttons. Not to mention how versatile the metal detectors were -- they were disassembled and gone by the time the rally ended.
Senator Obama was supposed to take the stage at 9, and the gates opened at about 6:50 or so after being advertised as opening at 7. We were entertained by music (which looped) as they tried to get us all on the field, and then by a series of speakers. The invocation was led by a Native American (Pueblo tribe, I believe), and the national anthem was done by a Santa Fe band called Soul Force, sung a capella by the three members. It wasn't too bad. Then they sang a few of their songs and a Beatles cover, "Don't Let Me Down".
I get the feeling Senator Obama's plane was late or something similar, because people kept referring to how he was going to "get here soon". I discovered that NM Governor Bill Richardson is a darned good speaker, as is US Senate candidate Tom Udall. The others weren't bad, but sounded somewhat stilted or uncomfortable. George Lopez (a popular comedian for those, like me, who live under a rock) spoke and was amusing. It was clear the campaign was trying to reach Hispanics and Native American voters, which is a smart thing to do in New Mexico. One of the speakers, I can't remember who, mentioned gay and lesbian civil unions, and the crowd didn't seem to be any less enthusiastic.
Senator Obama spoke for something like 45 minutes to an hour, and everything I've heard about him as a speaker is true. He is really good, and passionate, and sounds like he cares about what he's talking about. Nothing he said was new, at least for those who watched the debates, but he went into detail about education, health care, and immigration. He touched on renewable resources and dependence on foreign oil, gave a nod to taxes, and made a few fairly gentle jabs at McCain. My favorite two were, paraphrased, about how he had been more of a sidekick than a maverick and how McCain saying he was mad at Bush was like Robin being angry at Bat Man.
All-in-all, during his speech I forgot about how much my calves ached after standing in one spot (with a minor bout of walking when the line moved) for some seven-eight hours, and also forgot how very crowded it was. For me, the latter was pretty incredible, especially since Andy was out of town for work. I didn't leave energized (staying calm in a crowd that large was draining), nor do I suddenly worship him. I do think he's an excellent speaker, and I like his ideas. I'm glad I got to see him in person instead of just hearing about it second-hand. And next time there's a rally, if there is a next time, I'll make sure there's seating first.