I was one of the lucky 20,000 Twin Citians who was able to get a ticket to Obama's rally at the Target Center yesterday!
My friends and I hopped on a bus from St. Paul and found ourselves squeezed in the back with half a dozen other rally-bound riders. We began to talk as if we were going to a concert: "I saw him two years ago." "I saw him nine months ago in Chicago." "Do you know who's opening for him?" We reached downtown Minneapolis and excitedly trotted up to the Target Center. The line extended the length of the building. We rounded the corner. We rounded another corner. Then we saw that not only did the line wrap around the building, it extended down a bridge over the freeway.
We began to walk down the bridge. And walked, and walked, and walked, until we were across the bridge and out of downtown.
So how long was that line?
Around the building, across the bridge, down the street, back up the other side of the street, and at that point I lost sight of the end of the line. About 1 1/2 miles according to Google Maps.
The flow of people coming across the bridge never slowed. Each cluster of people would reach us at point C, thinking it was the end of the line, then look around the corner and realize they still had quite a ways to go. Some groaned, most laughed.
We got in line at point C at 1:00. Doors opened at 1:30. Our part of the line began to move around 1:45. By 2:00 we could see the Target Center in the distance again. It took about two hours for the entire line to move into the Target Center.
Finally inside the venue, the band Golden Smog entertained us and the fired up crowd did the wave.
As you can see we were behind the stage. That banner was destined to block our view of most of the speakers including the man himself. Thank goodness for Jumbotron.
We were welcomed by Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Rep. Betty McCollum. Rybak introduced the widow of former governor Orville Freeman, who introduced Obama. Ellison, who you may remember is a (gasp) Muslim who was (horror!) sworn in on the Koran, behaved very well and did not call any evil doom and destruction down into the stadium.
At 4:00, after our three hours of waiting including two hours outside in the cold, Obama takes the stage!
He brought the crowd to its feet over and over. He made us laugh by snarking on his "cousin" Dick Cheney and how disappointed he was that the genealogical research hadn't revealed he was related to someone cool. He told us about finding Paul Wellstone's name carved in his Senate desk drawer. He told us he believes in us the way Paul believed in us.
I wish we had been closer.
Yes we can!
Update:Here is a highlight video from the Star Tribune.