Obama speech a 'wow' moment

EDITORS NOTE: Democratic National Convention delegate Paulie Brading of Medford offers her impressions of the last day of the convention in Denver. Republican National Convention delegate Donna Cain of Rogue River will write from that convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul Monday through Thursday.

The lines to get into Invesco Field to watch Barack Obama give his acceptance speech Thursday weren't blocks long, they were miles long in the hot sun. Was it worth it? Yes. It was a "wow" experience.

The Oregon delegation sat right behind the New York delegation — great seats. It is hard to paint a picture of what it is like to be part of a crowd of 84,000 Americans waiting for a speech that turned out to be 44 minutes long. We weren't exactly sitting on our front porch, but in a way it was like sitting on America's front porch. The last time an acceptance speech was held outside was when John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic nomination for president at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The cool mountain air made the evening perfectly comfortable. After the speech I returned to the hotel, overstimulated, exhausted and satisfied with the results of my adventure in conventioneering.

Unable to settle down, I clicked through TV channels. Conservative Pat Buchanan called the speech the best and most important political speech he had heard going back 48 years. Mr. Buchanan and I agree; it really was a historical night.

I scribbled a few lines that felt like touchdown moments during the speech in the football stadium. "America, we are better than these last eight years." Obama spent most his speech describing how he would make people better off than they are right now. He was talking to ordinary workers. He said, "We will cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families."

Of course, we were reminded that John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time and so have Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith and Rep. Greg Walden. Obama spoke to middle- and working-class voters, giving precise examples of his plans to deal with the domestic economic anxiety most of us are feeling.

Lynn Howe, Democratic candidate for state representative in House District No. 6 of Medford, told me a story after she'd completed a long afternoon of canvassing potential voters. She'd met a man and wife who illustrate exactly what Obama was talking about. The man once owned a small construction company. Obviously very little home construction is happening in Jackson County. Now he is employed as a temporary worker on the Medford School District's school construction projects. His wife, a church secretary, was laid off because the church tithing has gone down too much to keep her on.

Lynn said, "These people are hard workers and good community members who are worried sick about what will happen to them after the school construction projects are completed." The sad truth is Lynn is hearing versions of the same hard-luck story all over Medford.

That is why Barack Obama's leadership and plans for decreasing domestic economic anxiety are so important. This election is not about offshore drilling or who wears a flag pin made in China, it is about the price of food, gas, clothes for school, or buying a new backpack for the exciting first day of school. Obama's speech sharply focused on how he would make people better off than they are right now.

Drive around Jackson County and look at all the houses for sale, the empty storefronts, the empty food pantries, read page after page of home foreclosures in this newspaper and then ask yourself if we are better off than we were eight years ago. Obama said it best Thursday night: "Eight is enough."

Birthday wishes to John McCain on his 72nd. Meanwhile, the number of troubled banks rose by 30 percent in the second quarter, the highest in five years. The FDIC said that banks' profits plunged 87 percent, to $5 billion, compared with the same quarter a year ago. Register to vote if you haven't done so.

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