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Obama-Mania Rocks Atlanta

 

 

By Maynard Eaton

Executive Editor of NewsMakers Journal

 

                                                  

 

It was a riveting, compelling political event that had more than 20,000 passionate people packed into Yellow Jacket Park on the campus of Georgia Tech.  They were there to witness the charismatic U.S. Senator Barack Obama dazzle and delight them about why he should be our next President.  It was a memorable, if not unprecedented, Atlanta presidential rally – arguably the city’s largest ever.

 

“Obama has been able to attract people of all ages, of all races,” says Dr. Gloria Bromell-Tinubu, the cerebral, colorful, cultured and contemplative former City Councilwoman; former 1997 and 2001 Atlanta Mayoral Candidate, and most recently President of Barbara Scotia College in North Carolina who has been back in Atlanta for a year and is admittedly eyeing another Atlanta political campaign  “People love him – not only because he’s gifted and talented – but because he brings a real down-to-earth commitment to ever-day issues and ever-day people. I see in him, me.  I’m all Obama.”

 

 Venerable Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin, 70, describes Obama as “authentic” calling him the best presidential candidate he’s ever encountered.

 

“You can compare [Barack’s Atlanta rally] to the Million Man March,” he says. “People are excited about this campaign because in their hearts and in their souls they know this is it. This is what we’ve always waited for.  It’s divine.

 

“People now realize that there can be a voice of hope bringing us all together,” Martin continues. “He is the answer to democracy to make it work and make it be beautiful for the human race.”

 

Dr. Gerald Durley, the esteemed pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in southwest Atlanta told me that his Sunday morning message to his parishioners would be based on Obama’s repeated cry to his throng of well-wishers, “It’s time for us to turn the page.”  Durley and a group of some 15 other ministers and clergy met with Sen. Obama for an hour prior to the rally.

 

“Global warming is going to be a major issue in the 2008 election,” says Rev. Durley.  “Because that gets at three giants – it gets at energy, it gets at oil and it gets at the auto industry.

 

“We cannot let the press paint him into being a rock star because that takes away from the seriousness of what he’s doing,” Durley adds.  “The brother’s deep, he’s smart and he’s committed.”

 

Obama ripped through a lamentable litany of the nation’s woes , saying that the “strategy of division and fear does not work,” promising that the country could “make sure that every single American has health care in this country by the end of the next president’s term – by the end of my first term we can have universal health care.”

 

“But we’re not going to be able to even get started on some of these problems unless we bring an end to this senseless war in Iraq,” Obama said.

 

He recalled that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said decades ago the Vietnam War had become “morally and politically untenable,” Obama said comparatively that the war in Iraq has come to be about an “administration that is trying to preserve its own political viability.”

 

“It is about stubbornness and obstinacy.  And we have to keep ratcheting up the pressure every day and every week to tell the president that it is time to change course, that it is time for us to start bringing our combat troops home from Iraq,” said Obama, the only presidential hopeful to vote against the authorizing the war effort.  “We’re not going to solve the problem by sending another $100 billion every year, and sending thousands of more troops to come back injured.  We need diplomatic solutions.”

 

The 2008 hopeful, who has raised a whopping $25 million already, spoke for close to an hour and was interrupted by applause more then a hundred times.  And, it’s still 18 months before the election.

 

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen something like this,” says Dr. Durley. “He has my support all the way. I think everybody who left here today is a convert.”

 

But can Obama win?  Does he have what it takes to become America’s first black president?  Opinions vary.

 

“People, particularly my generation, are turned off by ideologues,” says 38-year-old Atlanta City Councilman Caesar Mitchell. “They want basic rights and basic opportunities.  They want to live in peace and live in freedom. I am confident, I am positive [that Obama] will be our next President.”

“It’s more hype then reality,” counters sports magazine publisher Erica Rodney. “Hillary [Clinton] will stand out more then Barack. We’re ready, but they’re not ready for a black president.”

 

“I had been for Hillary, but now I am convinced Barack Obama is who America needs as our next President,” says Erica Dobbs, a chef  and catering company owner.

“He will be at the [Democratic] Convention, and then we will all be surprised,” says Councilman Martin convincingly “This man is a candidate for the whole world, not just our President.  He’s going to restore confidence in the whole [political] process.”

You are Visitor #  Hit Counter   Updated Wednesday April 05, 2006 12:40:42

 

 

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