Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Yes We Can"

I attended last night's Barack Obama rally in Grant Park with several different people - - Alanda and Steve, Brian, Rus, Eric - - and my guest was my roommate and best friend from college, Matthew.

Matthew is in town stage managing an opera at the Auditorium Theatre. Until last week, I hadn't seen Matthew in 12 years and like so many of my friends who no longer live in the same city that I do, from the second we saw each other, it was as if no time had passed.

Same Matthew - - fierce in his opinions, gracious and loving in his friendship, smart and cutting with his humor. I tend to attract close friends like that and I'm grateful that I do.

In college, Matthew and I campaigned long and hard for Bill Clinton. After he took office, both Matthew and I attend the 1993 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington. Clinton wasn't there; he wasn't even in Washington that day. I remember feeling that gays and lesbians had helped place Clinton in office and now he was abandoning us. Then came Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the abandonment was clear.

Last night, Matthew and I stood in Grant Park as Barack Obama became our President Elect. When he took the stage, Obama gave the acceptance speech below, and we were mentioned. And it was a truly glorious moment.

When Barack Obama said ", straight...," I felt as if Matthew and I had come full circle. Standing before us was a President who hadn't abandoned us. He included us within minutes of his acceptance of the Office of President. Those two words may not sound like much, but when included in that speech, they filled me with joy.

A beautiful, black woman standing beside me was overcome with tears, as was I. All of us took a step towards the future last night. And unlike in times past, the person in whom we had placed our faith to lead us into the future hadn't forgotten us. He was standing with us, offering his hand, helping us on this next part of our journey and reminding us - - all of us - - that no matter where we've been, no matter what others may think of us, no matter what the obstacles are in front of us, we will make the glorious vision that our Founding Fathers had for this nation a reality.

Yes we can.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

My pictures and videos from the rally will soon follow.


Jackie said...

Monica and I cheered and teared up when he said Gay, straight, too. What a night.

Scooter said...

What an amazing event! We, too, were struck with our inclusion in his speech. HOORAY!

ohnochriso said...

I want to be more excited about Obama's mentioning of gays in his speech. But I can't help but think about how he has said that marriage should be between a man and a woman and here we are in California about to have that point made law.

Project Christopher said...

YAY! i'm so happy today I can't stand it. The only downside today is the loss of the Props in CA, FL and AZ. While all of them are losses that hurt, I'm most surprised at California's Prop 8. CA is pretty adamant about all of its citizens being equal and actually taking away something they already had was, I thought, beyond the realm of possibility.
Apparently not.

But those fights aren't over, they're far from over. And if this country can elect Obama by a

(catch this word McSame & Palin)

LANDSLIDE, then I still hold out hope for Change!

Polt said...

Now aren't you glad you went? And when he said the gay/straight, all three of us in the room, me and two straight people, all applauded! :)


dollar said...

If you believe that Obama will do anything to further the gay cause and/or gay marriage, you will once again be as disappointed as you were with Clinton and his corrupt cronies.

Why won't the gay community finally wake up and realize that the Democrats pander to us and only say what they want us to hear in order to get elected. Once in office, they won't even answer our phone calls.

"I'm so tired of America"--Rufus Wainwright.

Aaron said...

This might shock you, Dollar, so hold on to that dimestore beret--but the gay marriage issue is not the ONLY reason most of us voted for Obama. That he included gay and straight in his speech as more than an afterthought means he will work with us more than McMole and Caribou Barbie ever would have.

Who would you have us vote for--Ralph Nader?? He couldn't even keep the Corvair off the roads!

Bob said...

Let’s tear down that Bush of a bearing wall and put an Obama where it OUGHT TO BE!

philip said...

I cried last night when I heard it.
And I cried again reading it on your blog.
I am finally excited for the future.

Java said...

I watched the rally in Grant Park for a little while last night. I watched carefully as the cameras were panning the crowd. I didn't see you, even though I looked.

Aaron said...

Were you the mystery man that Oprah was leaning on? :-)

(Oh, sorry, you said BEAUTIFUL. I know, I know, I'm evil. Too bad.)

james said...

i can't ever remember being so proud to be an american.

Kristie said...

I was so moved watching his speech on TV I can't imagine how much more powerful it would have been in person.

Yes we can and Yes we did and someday we will put down all these stupid props that can tell you who you can marry, it's just a matter of time.

just me said...

For me it was a night I thought I'd never see in my lifetime. I love this man. I just do. Thought of you Stephen when I watched the crowd in Grant Park!!