Senator Barack Obama
Photo: AP

Barack Obama superstar

Frenzied fans make it clear that Democratic candidate is taking America by storm

BALTIMORE – Thousands of people waited for hours on the sidewalks around the basketball stadium in downtown Baltimore, despite the cold weather and freezing winds. Had Hillary Clinton been there, she would have trembled.


Disabled in wheelchairs, elderly citizens with walking sticks who already saw everything in life and never thought they would make it to this point, and many teenagers, both black and white, some of whom are not even eligible to vote, singing, and mostly dancing in order to overcome the cold and raising up "Obama" and "Change" posters. They make it clear to anyone requiring an explanation that they have come to see the new rock star sweeping through America. "Barack rocks," the fans yell.


Many African-Americans who don't believe this is happening to them are here, in one of America's most African-American towns, where the primaries will be held Tuesday. Aging white hippies who in the past fought for equality and social justice arrived to watch from up close the end-of-days vision taking shape before their eyes, alongside parents who arrived with their children in order to show them the future.


A Jewish kid holds up a poster with a Star of David and Obama's "Yes, we can." Even the Jews are no longer in Hillary Clinton's pocket.


Obama the performer

What's happening around Senator Barack Obama is unlike any other political event. This was not an election meeting. It was a social phenomenon. A foreigner will not understand it. Even Clinton and John McCain are finding it difficult to understand. While they appear before hundreds or a few thousands of people at most, Obama fills up stadiums. He's doing a show.


The attempt to see him Monday at the University of Maryland's basketball stadium failed after more than 20,000 people packed it and jammed parking lots. Therefore, the other alternative was the "next show" in Baltimore.


"Only" 15,000 people were there. It was supposed to start at 4 pm. Obama was fashionably late by and hour and fifteen minutes. Nobody complained or left angrily. There is no criticism there. Just great joy. The crowd passed the time singing, dancing, and yelling "yes, we can."


The crowd knows that Obama is getting closer after two Secret Service agents take up the stage. The crowd screams "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma." The candidate is shaking hands at the front row. He is being photographed with babies and making jokes.


Obama takes the small stage, which looks like his home court, completely relaxed. He tells the crowd a few nice words about their town and about the local baseball team, even though it's not doing that well, and then starts with his usual speech, which he can recite in his sleep by now.


Obama is up there for an hour before he reaches crescendo. He tells the crowd that together they can change the country and the world. The crowd is frenzied and Obama goes down into the first row and is being swallowed up by the crowd, with four alarmed Secret Service agents behind him. Standing a few feet away from him, no fatigue or sweat is detected. Barack Obama enjoys every moment and knows that with such sympathy he will be hard to stop.


פרסום ראשון: 02.13.08, 00:34
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