SixFifty

lessons from America

Big Tent ahoy

I’ve finally arrived at the Big Tent.  Its an absolute hive of activity here.  People, computers, screens, cameras, mobile phones everywhere. Just trying to get my bearings and find my feet. Also got to do prep for a radio interview I’m doing later.  5.30pm Mountain Time. With progressive program ‘Building Bridges’ over at radio station WBAI 99.5FM in New York. 

On my way here, walking down the 16th street mall, the merchandise stalls were already out in force.  Obama dolls was the best thing on offer, but at $15 I skipped that for now.  Badges, t-shirts, posters, freebies, discounts at fast food joints were all being pushed.

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August 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Denver Diary – Sun 24 Aug

Up in the Rocky mountains for me today.  Breckenridge, Loveland and a few scenic stops en route.  Went with Hunter, my Denver flatmate / host, and his girlfriend Jordi.  Altitude sickness didn’t hit me too bad and it was a lovely day.

  

In the evening I made my way to the Young Democrats party, in a club just south of the capitol building.  Lively event certainly.  I met a fellow Big Tent-er, and some local journalists.  One was covering the Colorado delegation and said that they were not looking forward to the protests starting tomorrow.  One of their number was going to meet with the protestors and the journo was going to go along too, with seeming trepidation.

I ended up hanging out with a couple of locals. I say locals, but they were East Coast girls who had moved to the Denver area within the past year. Not political at all, but just really excited by the range of people coming into town and the oomph and diversity of the Democrat crowd.  Inevitably, they were starting to be caught up in the Obama infectiousness and so I wouldn’t be surprised if they voted Democrat come the Fall. 

Just as I left the club, a team of artists were plastering a nearby wall with the iconic Obama ‘hope’ posters.  Cue a queue for photo opportunities, which I duly got sucked into.

 

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Denver Diary | , , , , , | Leave a comment

An African perspective

Back home in England, two sets of good friends got married today. I chose to be in Denver and with the Democrats at this time, but it still makes me a little sad to be missing these happy occasions and time spent with friends.  So mazel tov and I’m thinking of you Danny, and Arry & Keith. 

But something does connect these friends, Denver and Obama: Africa.  Africans. And the audacity of hope.  Arry I first met whilst living in Tanzania; Keith when campaigning on drop the debt and other international social justice issues; and Danny on the British Council’s Interaction leadership programme, which has at its heart the philosophy of ubuntu and the celebration of what’s good from and we can learn from the continent.

Danny and I spent a week in Zambia, attending a conference with 200 community leaders from across Africa.  That was back last October, and already the positive support for Obama amongst the delegates there was papable.  They were proud of Obama – his Kenyan roots, his dark skin – and they were excited by his message.  And the ‘audacity of hope’ that Obama wrote about was very much part of their lives and resonated hugely with them. 

 That overwhemingly positive reaction continues to this day.  Even the Senegalese taxi driver who i just got a lift from this evening enthused about Obama and the opportunities that his presidency might open up – in foreign relations, in community relations, and in the self-worth (and maybe even real-worth) of Africans.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | global perspective, the world wants obama | , , , , | Leave a comment