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September 08, 2007

Barack Obama–Firing it up!

[me+&+Obama.jpg]  We kicked off the Voters for Peace and Security campaign at the Obama event yesterday. When we arrived to the Dolittle Community Center, in the mid-day Las Vegas heat, we were shocked to see hundreds of people lined up, which wrapped around the entire parking lot and down the street. People of all ages, colors and backgrounds were patiently fanning themselves while waiting in line to see Obama in Vegas, again. Though this was his 7th or 8th appearance in Vegas within the past few months, it seems still, the people can’t get enough. Once we finally made it into the auditorium, the music was rocking and it was standing room only while everyone eagerly watched and waited for the Senator to enter the room. The speeches by senator and the bumping music – were enough to fire us all up. When Barack Obama walked in, the crowd went wild.

He began by delivering an inspiring introduction as the candidate for hope and change. He addressed the critics which told him he was too young and inexperienced by saying that Cheney, Rumsfeld and their likes have all an extensive list of “experience” in the White House, and asked folks if they like what they’d seen from them—which was met by sneers and boos.

Senator Obama talked a lot about ending the war – which according to today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal “Obama's most rousing ovations came when he called for an immediate end to the war in the Middle East". But he also stated that he would not even begin to withdraw troops until 2008. He did not go into much explanation beyond this, but his official website says that he would remove only “combat brigades from Iraq by March 2008 but will keep a limited number of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces.” Though why he would wait until March 2008 to redeploy all the combat troops is highly baffling. He also repeated a bit about regaining the US’ moral authority abroad, but failed to mention how the US could achieve this with our track record of human rights abuses and hypocritical stance on new nuclear weapons building, stockpiles and testing while acting as the self appointed world police.

All and all, it is very exciting to be here, and see the hope, excitement and involvement of the Las Vegas community. And Obama was smooth and very convincing! His new campaign slogan is “Fire it up” which was all over the signs and was chanted widely by his supporters. He went on to tell the story of a long, tiresome and seemingly wasted trip he took to North Carolina where supporters repeated the mantra in unison until he started, almost hypnotically to feel and believe it! Until yesterday I was rather unimpressed by Obama’s campaign and would have found it highly unlikely that this would change – that may not show so in the following picture of me in today's Las Vegas Sun newspaper!! So I guess it even worked in the most unlikely scenarios-check it out: http://www.lasvegassun.com/from.ed/2007/sep/07/photos/P000086990.jpg

peace, security and justice ~

Noura Khouri, Las Vegas Field Organizer nkhouri@peaceactionwest.org


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