Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Adventure in Obamaland (aka Grant Park)

Tuesday night, I decided to venture downtown to see what was going on at the Obama rally in Grant Park. I decided that I would look at the festivities outside the park rather than what was going on inside the park.

I rode in on the train as parking for the event was going to be hard to come by, and expensive. Yes, I'm a bit of a cheapskate. On the train, the groups boarding were mostly young, and diverse in appearence. However, they were not diverse in opinion or goal. I overheard one group discussing the 2000 election and how Gore got the popular vote but not the electoral vote.

Once downtown, I took note of the law enforcement presence. There were Chicago Police Officers, CTA officers, traffic cops, private security, and more. The presence was massive, with as many as a dozen LEOs at each street corner.

I walked along Jackson on my way to Grant Park and took note of the many street vendors. This would be quite common, as I found out, along Michigan Avenue as well.

All sorts of items were being sold. Buttons, T-shirts, banners, posters, etc.

When I got to Michigan, I saw several people playing music on various instruments. Some bands had real instruments, while others were using 5 gallon pastic buckets.

There was also a guy at Michigan and Congress handing out religious material. I took one, and it was non-political, but talked about the need to be reborn. The guy was handing them out to anyone who passed by.

I then went to the east side of Michigan Avenue to see what was to be found. In front of the main entrance to the Obama rally, World Can't Wait was set up with their tables and banners.

They seemed to go all out, enjoying the night.

In addition to the World Can't Wait folks, there were others who demanded to be seen with their signs at the ready. Here's a guy who claimed the election is a distraction. A distraction from what, I have no idea.

There were also a colorful couple, dressed in a pig suit and a skeleton. Each held a sign. Miss Skeleton held an anti-Palin sign, while Mr. Pig had much more class. His sign simply read "Fuck McCain".

Moving on, I took note of a car with Obama and "Punch #1" on it. This is a relic of the punch card days in Cook County when they'd tell you when number on the ballot a specific candidate was to make it easier to him/her.

I also took a look at the crowds waiting to get into the park, standing in a line about two to three blocks long along Michigan Avenue.

They also rode their bikes to the event. Bikes were parked everywhere. Trees, lamp posts, bike racks, where they were by the dozens. These "green" people also left trash in mounds, overflowing the trash cans,a nd in piles on the ground. Randomly on the ground.

I caught a few scenes around the area as I was wandering on the edge of Grant Park. I overheard a guy ask "What state does Biden represent?". An Obama supporter who doesn't know where Biden is from.

I then turned my attention to the Obama stage in Hutchinson Field. Looking across the railroad tracks, I saw what appeared to be a crown of light above the stage. There were several beams, all radiating from the same spot.

I then started on my way back to the train station, and found a most humorous marquee offering drinks for that evening.

When I got back to the train station, I heard a rather large, but not tall lady talking to the air. I realized she was talking to a Bluetooth phone. She was whining about how the "rednecks" couldn't take the election away after Obama was declared to be the winner. Another group, behind me, said "They can't steal this one". However, the train ride home was uneventful, and actually pretty quiet. Quite the change (heh) from the blaring of car horns and shouting along Michigan Avenue.