Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events

Smith Senior Attends Democratic National Convention

After working all summer on Sen. Barack Obama's campaign in Denver, Sara Aboulafia ’09 was awarded with tickets to attend his speech upon accepting the nomination for the Democratic presidential candidacy on Thursday, Aug. 28, at Mile High Stadium. Following the historic speech, she wrote about her experience for The Gate.

[Watch The Gate next week for a dispatch from Sarah Perkins ’11 about this week's Republican National Convention.]

Go Team Obama! Cheering on The Home-Team

By Sara Aboulafia ’09

I am not a sports fan. Sure, I catch basketball on TV once in a while, and I enjoy tennis sometimes (especially if Rafael Nadal is playing). But a football field is one place you wouldn’t typically find me.
But last Thursday night (August 28) I, along with 84,000 other people, took part in a cherished staple of football fanfare at Invesco Field at Denver’s Mile High Stadium: the wave. I even raised a home-team sign, cheering on our number one player: Senator Barack Obama.
I had volunteered for hours to nab those tickets, then stood outside the stadium with my mother for three and half hours in a mass of anxious Democrats waiting to get in and watch Obama speak. I worked this summer with other 20-somethings in Obama’s Denver Campaign For Change office, doing voter registration and phone banking.

When my mother and I arrived at Invesco field last Thursday, thousands were waiting to get into the stadium in winding, horizon-less lines. It was a horrifying and beautiful sight—it was amazing that so many of us felt a part of political history, but people were cramped and anxious to get in. The wait to get into the speech seemed about as long as it takes to get a bill passed into law—so long, in fact, that my mom and I missed the opening ceremony, the recital of MLK’s I Have A Dream speech, the pomp and glory, the musical performances by Stevie Wonder and Sheryl Crow.
After going through security, my mom and I raced through the halls of the stadium as Al Gore’s voice thundered around us. We met up with my friends and made it just in time for the end of Gore’s speech. Inside each of the cup-holders in front of us were American flags, which people were waving with enthusiasm. Behind me, a couple that seemed to be tailgating shouted, “USA! USA!” My introverted writer-friends were wide-eyed at the blaring “America!” signs around the stadium, and the sea of people with “Obama for Change” signs that filled every nook and cranny.
I was concerned that all of this would add up to just another sports event, with Obama, or America, substituting for the Broncos. But then it occurred to me: it’s not so bad to root for the home team when you believe in what it’s about. And I was not ashamed to be one of the thousands to stand up when Obama—trim, composed, and genial as always—walked to the podium, applauding us just as much as we applauded him.
When he spoke about the responsibility of government and our responsibility toward each other (“I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper”) I cheered. When he took a stab at tax-cuts—those supported by McCain and Bush—for corporations and the wealthy and neglectful of workers, I stood up with my mother. And when he laid out his plan to get us off our dependence on foreign oil, noting that domestic drilling is only a short-term solution, we all stood up. When Obama demanded that we take “Patriotism” back from the right (“I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first,” he said) I was overjoyed, despite my own reticence to wave a flag.
Although I have disagreements with Obama, I was overjoyed because he, unlike the fear-mongers, refuses to use ideology to steal our votes. He has an amazing flair for taking language back, for redefining what strength means (not simply wealth), what progress means, what patriotism is. He is one candidate that does give a damn about what people have to say. “If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m willing to have,” Obama said, and people cheered—yes, they cheered for pragmatism! For talking first to our enemies! For taking the high road! For negotiating and diplomacy!
Maybe my optimism is a little too sunny. But after eight years of gloom-and-doom and fire-and-brimstone, I’ve never felt so refreshed. This will be my first time voting for a president, and yet somehow I feel like I’ve jumped back into the game.


DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z