MNP Reports 4/21/08

Here’s a transcript from our ninja down in Philly. She’s currently working to obtain the coveted status of MNP’s first dedicated on-the-scene correspondent.

Laura G. is a body double by day and ninja by night. When not teaching the youth about today’s mathematics she volunteers part-time at Obama’s Philadelphia campaign.

Here’s her short-but-necessary take on what is happening, posted without graphic interruption.

This is an exciting time to be in Philadelphia. Political signs, pins, and t-shirts are infiltrating the streets and people are talking. They are talking a lot. This morning, on my five-minute walk from the train to work, I heard at least three conversations about what was going to happen tomorrow. A woman shouted to a man wearing an Obama hat, “I mean, I respect guy, but he ain’t got a chance of winning.” The man with the hat gave a smirk and continued on, explaining to his friend that Obama understands the larger picture because his heritage embodies the larger picture, that he gets how to deal with a variety of people because he grew up around a diverse group of people. For this reason, he believes in the man. He believes the man will really change the country.

I am not a political person. It is hard for me choose sides, to stand for something, to pick someone based on what say to get votes. I am never quite certain I “know” enough to really choose. And choosing between Hillary and Obama was especially hard because ultimately I wanted to be able to support either of them in November. But for some reason I wanted to be a part of this election. So I did my research. I picked my person and I became an intern in the Obama office two weeks ago. Not because I am necessarily “against” Hilary but because I am “for” Obama.

Three days ago, I walked through the city, all the way down to Independence Hall where the Obama rally was being held. I began my journey at the city center, where Hillary supporters were holding up “Honk for Hillary” signs and screaming at passing cars. There were about ten people total and they had all lost their voices. Cars were honking, people were cheering and there was a general sense of urgency amongst the crowd. As I continued down to Independence Hall, the clash began to happen–a clash that exist in every pocket of the city right now, a clash that both terrifies me and brings me energy. People with Hillary pins bumping against people with Obama t-shirts, and people with Hillary hats passing people Mamas For Obama stickers; the division is so stark and so charged. Soon, it became Obama territory and the crowd was full of an energy that I have never experienced. It is this abstract “hope” that people keep on talking about but there really is no other word for what I think (and I only know from the one side) that people are experiencing. It’s why there were 35,000 people out of their homes, waiting for over five hours to see Obama at a last minute rally and why a lady in her seventies, covered in Obama paraphernalia, used all the voice she had left to tell people where to get their red and/or blue tickets. And this hope—this overwhelming support for a candidate no one thought would get very far–is, in my opinion, slightly scary. It is scary because it is so easily felt, so accessible, so tangible and if it goes away tomorrow, next week, next month, or even in November, the loss will feel as tangible and it will feel huge. I worry about that.

Today, one day before the election, I sit with seven other people on the “New Media” team and blast myspace messages about getting out the vote. In the next room over, volunteers are screaming, every hour on the hour, “Fired up and Ready to go!” The office is disgusting at this point, empty Starbucks cups and Qdoba wrappers are falling out of the trashcans and fluorescent lights make it look that much worse. But people are ready for something to happen, ready to work all night and keep the vote close because they have to. Because if they don’t, they and everyone else they’ve convinced, might just deflate, might just fall apart. It’s an exciting time to be in Philadelphia.

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