Along with 10,000 others, I attended the Obama rally Sunday afternoon on the University of Toledo campus. A half hour before the senator was scheduled to speak, the doors were closed, disappointing 5,000 supporters who were too late to get in. Yet, Mr. Obama took time before his inside appearance to talk with those who stood out in the cold.
Inside the place was jumping: choirs, dancers, and speeches preceded the arrival of the man the people wanted to see and hear. He did not disappoint them. I was sitting among middle aged black folks who viewed the senator as their hope, their dream. They have waited way too long for a black man to lead this nation and they hung on every word he uttered. "Yes sir!" "That's right!" "We're listening to you!" The man spoke to their souls.
Obama said of himself, "People say to me, 'you're a young man, you can wait some more years until you become more seasoned.'" Then he said, "They want to stew me, to cook all of the hope out of me, but " won't let that happen. The time is now." The audience roared in approval.
I was thinking of the elderly black couple right behind me throughout his speech. They were well into their 70's, people whose hard work showed on their faces and in their voices. They were tired of waiting. No doubt they had 'waited' quite a lot during their lifetime, the color of their skin denying entrance to many places and opportunities that white folks take for granted. They had spent a lifetime waiting to be recognized as full and equal citizens of this nation and the time for celebration, the time for complete emancipation was this time, this place, this speech, this afternoon.
They themselves had not allowed all of their own hope to be cooked out of them. Their man spoke to them and it warmed their hearts.