November 5th, 2008 · 22 Comments
UPDATE: These amazing photos have been linked hundreds of times since I posted them. They’ve been featured on some really high-profile sites, which is gratifying, but I’ve been frustrated by not being able to credit the photographer.
Today I got an email from Nida Vidutis. She was there that night, and took these pictures.
NIDA IS 17 YEARS OLD.
I asked her to tell me about her experience at the rally, and this is what she said:
“We went to Obama’s very last rally, at the Prince William Fairgrounds in Virginia. We were part of 90,000 people who came to show their support. We stood for five hours waiting for him, after having stood and walked all day. But it didn’t matter. And I know it’s cliche to say, but the crowd was so diverse. We made friends with the people around us, and when we took a picture, we managed to cover pretty much the entire skin color spectrum. And this fact cannot be undervalued. Obama is not black, he is not white–he is Indonesian, Hawaiian, Kenyan, Caucasian, and about a million more.
Obama is, in part, an idea man, but in his being, in his person, he takes these ideas and gives them a reality, and this is what you understand when you see him. He gives lofty thoughts and progressive dreams substance and tangibility. Yet, he is a pragmatic progressive. His ability to address problems gains its strength from his ability to recognize nuances, to turn a problem up and down and mold it into something that can be changed, that must be changed and that will be changed.
And there was this kid at the rally, I think he was about six years old. He was black, and sitting up on his dad’s shoulders. He had an Obama-Biden sign, and for what I swear was about 3 hours straight, he held the sign straight up, with the most determined look I had ever seen on a six-year-old’s face. And then this other kid appeared, a white kid, on his dad’s shoulders. And all of a sudden they were sharing the sign back and forth. And then, then they held it together. And…it was so simple, SO simple. Yet, at the same time, it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, and the great part was that they had no idea what they were doing. Everyone looked at them, people took pictures, but they were just holding a sign. “Little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls…” It was so simple.
And then Obama came out. We listened to him talk, we wondered about the emotional roller coaster he was experiencing–his grandmother had just died hours before, and here he was at one of his biggest rallies ever, after 21 months of campaigning, only 21 hours away from winning the presidency. It. was. amazing. And I was so proud to be just one of those 90,000 people, to blend into the crowd, just to be there to listen to this man. It was incredible.”