First of all, I'd just like to say congratulations to "saggy" for posting all those comments on the last post from the PHONE! Amazing! Your thumbs must be buff!
Secondly, I was mistaken in the last post when I implied that the U.S. was fighting in the second World War at the time of Roosevelt's speech. World War II was being fought, but the U.S. did not officially join it until after Pearl Harbor was attacked in December of 1941. Roosevelt's speech was in January 1941.
Thirdly, Yes, I did go to see Barack Obama on Saturday night here in Springfield at a rally held at JFK Stadium, a High School football field. So now I have seen Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Barack Obama live - either the first woman ever elected to be Vice President or the first African-American ever elected President. I can say that I've been a part of history, and that's pretty cool, no matter whose little box you check tomorrow!
I arrived in the area and parked my car on a side street, then hiked a mile to the end of the unbelievably long line. There was a lot less political conversation in this line, I noticed. But that may have been just the people I was standing by. We walked by only a handful of protesters, but they were very nasty ones - a sign that said "Hitler drew big crowds, too" and one that said "Obama doesn't just want change, he wants all your money." We were called "morons" by one particularly angry guy. I am so grateful that the handful of really mean people there are most definitely not representative of McCain supporters in general.
The rally was an impressive sight - the estimates I read were 30,000 people. I stood at about the 20 yard line and the stage was set up in the opposite end zone. Because I'm tall, I had a clear view of Claire McCaskill, who introduced Michelle Obama, who introduced Barack Obama. Jay Nixon was also present, but he didn't speak.
After a little glitch with the sound system, McCaskill started her part by saying, "I'm confused. Somebody told me there weren't any Democrats in Southwest Missouri." Well, of course that got a huge reaction, and set the tone for the rest of the rally. There was a lot of cheering and it was generally an upbeat mood all around.
Obama gave a pretty standard stump speech, and there wasn't anything particularly new or different than normal, with one exception. He made a big deal about Dick Cheney saying he would "be delighted" to have McCain as president. Obama thanked Cheney for his endorsement, in fact, and said that it was proof that McCain would just do the same things that the current administration is doing.
But other than that, it was the standard Obama speech, using lines that he has been using for the past few days now on issues of economy, war, education, health care, energy, the environment. (Though he did get in a pretty good zinger when he said that "99.9% of all plumbers make less than $250,000 a year.") He seemed energetic and his voice was strong, though I can't imagine how exhausted he must be - how all of them must be actually! What a gruelling process this is. Is this really the best way to do this?
Two moments of the rally were most profound for me. The first was when he looked out at the crowd and said he wanted to take a quick poll. He guessed that there were about 40,000 people present and he asked everyone in the crowd making less that $250,000 a year to raise our hands. Well obviously, everyone raised their hands - at least everyone I could see. Then he said, "Those of you with your hands up, your taxes are not going to go up." And then he proceeded to give the info on his tax increase affecting only 5% of the country, and so forth. I'm sure you've heard those details before. (btw - Greene County had a median income of $41,162.)
The second moment was when he was contrasting one of his positions with McCain's position, and the crowd started booing. He kind of cut us off, saying, "You don't need to boo, just go vote." I had read about him saying that before, but to experience it made an impact on me. The crowd did not boo any more after that. By way of comparison and for what it's worth, Governor Palin did not stop the crowd at her rally from booing.
I have decided for whom I am going to vote tomorrow, and I hope that you have too. I hope that if you are planning to vote for a different person than I am, we can still be friends. I hope that if you are voting for the same person I am, we can still be friends, too! I hope that the United States will join together in support of whatever leaders are elected tomorrow, and work together to ensure that our national future is prosperous, safe, and free.
But I have got to say, along with the apostle Paul, that my biggest hope is that we who are Christian affirm the belief that "our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). That means that whatever tomorrow's election results are, our primary allegiance is to God. Whoever we elect tomorrow to lead us in earthly, temporal matters, our leader in all matters is Christ.
I'd like to close with a prayer that I'll be praying tomorrow.
God of all that is,
we thank you for this day of opportunity.
Every day is a day of opportunity,
because you give it to us.
Our nation is electing leaders today, and the process so far
has been gruelling
and sometimes bitter
and even angry.
Forgive us, we pray.
Forgive us for relying on ourselves instead of you.
Forgive us for prioritizing earthly concerns ahead of you.
Forgive us the animosity we have at times felt
against our brothers and our sisters - your beloved children of this world.
Please send your spirit to be with those we elect
and those whom we do not elect,
to give guidance, to encourage,
to give peace, to comfort.
Whatever leaders we choose this day,
remind us again and again of your presence
over us, within us, around us, underneath us.
And through us, Holy God,
we pray that your love and grace
would be made known
throughout all of your wonderful creation.
In the name of Christ Jesus - Amen.