Hot Chicks Dig Obama
YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, News Feature // , Words: Donny Lumpkins // Video: Donny Lumpkins and Ann Bassette Posted: Nov 28, 2007
Editor's Note: Riding the wave of a virtual dead heat in Iowa and rehashed revelations of adolescent drug use Barack Obama stormed into San Francisco and was greeted by students, awkward party people, old school soul music, beautiful young women and foam fingers. Donny Lumpkins, 20, is a content producer and Ann Bassette is a editor at YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.
SAN FRANCISCO – Even with recent controversy around his supposed drug and alcohol use in high school, Barack Obama has gotten a bump in the polls – at least in Iowa. But his popularity among young people was in full effect when he rolled into town on November 14th. I’ve been pretty much decided from day one who I want to vote for, but I went to check out what my fellow constituents were like.
The line of people waiting to get into the rally wrapped around a few blocks. It was a strange mix of college students, high school kids, middle class suburban people and a few women dressed as though they were going to a club rather than a political event. Before the doors opened, I talked to some young people outside about Barack and why he has such a cult following with youth.
“He’s young, so it’s easier to relate to him,” said one young woman, sporting a “Hot Chicks Dig Obama” pin. Another young woman added: “He seems to be concerned about the young people and I think other presidential candidates don’t think that young people care.”
One young man I spoke to vented his anger with the current administration and said charisma was his reason for supporting Barack. “The general population of young people that are going to be voting will probably vote Democratic because it’s more progressive,” he said. “We’re all really pissed off at Bush and his administration.” He continued: “Plus, Hillary Clinton just isn’t that charismatic.” Inside the event, there were stadium-style balcony seats that wrapped around the room and the general admission floor area where people stood in front of the stage awaiting Obama. In the crowd there were some young women that could have easily been at a Fall Out Boy concert, there were other young people dressed in sensible casual clothing that looked like they were on their way out to a nice dinner, and then some college students with “Barack and Roll” t-shirts – who looked like they were on the way to a kegger.
After about 50 percent of the room filled up, a choir hit the stage. I’ve always found it interesting how Barack Obama runs his rallies almost like church – the only big difference on this night was that churches don’t serve beer. In true sporting event fashion, plastic cups of frothy golden beer and green personal-sized pizza boxes could be seen scattered about the crowd.
There were a few speakers before Obama came on stage. They all talked about him like he was the second coming, JFK and Martin Luther King all wrapped up in one. Between speakers, mostly old soul and funk songs like Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” played over the P.A. People that looked like they have never even heard the word ‘dance’ before, threw their fists into the air and began to bend their elbows and knees in some bizarre ski stance move, like it hurt and was very pleasurable to them at the same time.
Somewhere between the songs “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “It’s Your Thang,” the wave broke out in the balcony and I could help but wish I brought a foam finger. When Barack finally did get on stage, the crowd erupted. Signs flew up in the air and everyone was out of their seat like someone hit a game winning shot. He greeted the crowd casually with “Hey!” and “What’s up?” When he began to actually speak, I could tell why people like him so much. He definitely has a way of engaging his audience. He paced back and forth on the stage – making the classic politician fist with one hand and holding the mic in the other.
But not everyone was completely satisfied with what Barack had to say. One young woman pointed out that in his speech Barack said nothing about immigration, which is a big issue that hits close to home with a lot of Californians. It was also pointed out by another woman that Barack said nothing about women’s rights, another hot topic in San Francisco.
The great majority of the young people that attended seemed satisfied. A schoolteacher from a prep school in Oakland who brought her entire class of students summed it up nicely. “Young people are the ones that have changed all the world, if you look through out history it’s the young people that have made the change,” she said. So, will young people be the one’s who will decide this election by wearing clever Obama t-shirts and pins all the way to the polls? It’s too early to predict, but one thing’s for sure: B-money knows how to throw a serious party.
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