I found this photo randomly while scrolling through my photo collection and happened to notice the ten year anniversary of this event. It’s a terrible picture but the best of many terrible shots because I couldn’t bring a better camera with me that day.
January 30, 2008 – I woke up early and drove to Denver alone to wait in a line for over two hours with thousands of other people to hear Barack Obama speak at the University of Denver’s Magness Arena. This was back when most people didn’t think he had a shot of winning the Democratic nomination, let alone the election. The energy of everyone there that day made me believe hard that maybe hope really did have a chance.
As we all piled into the stadium—totally packing it, I might add—I happened to find a spot not too far from the stage and not too far from where he would enter the stadium. The crowd pushed their way towards the ropes when he entered, and he took the time to shake some of the hands poking out here and there. Although I couldn’t see over the many heads in front of me, I stuck my hand over someone’s shoulder and felt a shoot of goosebumps blast up my arm as someone touched it. I’ll never know if it was him or not, but I’ll always believe that I shook hands with a future president, President Barack Obama.
I don’t remember much of what he said, but I remember that it aligned with all that I dreamed of for our country, especially about the environment, human rights, and education. I remember the excitement of the crowd coursing through arena and the euphoric feelings I had as I left that day, believing that I had participated in something truly auspicious. Things were going to be okay from now on.
It breaks my heart now to look at these pictures, at my optimistic innocence. I love Obama even more now for his compassion and integrity, and it horrifies me how much of his dream was blocked during his time in office. It kills me to learn how 45 and his lackeys are decimating all that he was able to put into place. My only hope comes from the thought that maybe the chaos will burn itself out, that we will all emerge from this nightmare a little bit wiser and more careful but definitely more impassioned about what truly matters in life.