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Welcome To Invesco Field « The Washington Independent

DENVER — Here it is, one of the most spectacular displays of political pageantry in American history: Invesco Field, home of the Broncos, for the climactic event of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In a few hours, Sen. Barack Obama will officially become the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. This is history in the making. And I literally have a 50-yard line seat.

That’s right. Thanks to a well-connected friend, I’m at Section 123 of Invesco, which, if there was turf laid down instead of a massive stage, would be the 50 yard line. Ironically — and not to complain! — but the seats are less-than-ideal, since I’m behind that massive stage. But watching Obama on the JumboTrons won’t exactly be an inconvenience. I’m not in a press area, so I’ll get to witness The Speech the way 76,125 of Barack Obama’s closest friends will: in an atmosphere of sheer patriotic pandemonium. (Unfortunately that also means I’ll be running on laptop-battery power, so posting will be a bit infrequent as I conserve energy.)

Getting in here was frustrating: a two-hour-long line stretching back to the Pepsi Center parking lot. I’m guessing a sturdy artifact of the pre-nomination march into Invesco could be my Twitter feed, wherein my friends and me pissed and moaned about waiting forever in the sweltering heat to advance a few paces at a time, accosted by all manner of t-shirt and tchotchke vendors hustling Obama memorabilia. We’re about four hours or so away from The Speech, and Invesco is baking hot. A slight breeze feels as refreshing as an open icebox.

None of this, of course, can take away from the majesty of this moment, if I can be personal for a moment. Politically, Obama is already getting a bounce, measured even before Biden’s speech last night. But whatever the immediate political impact of the speech is, the spectacle is breathtaking. McCain may be hitting Obama for being a “celebrity” — a racially-charged derision intended to make him seem insubstantial, as if an African-American candidate could earn his party’s nomination without working so much harder than any white politician — but that’s both right and wrong at the same time. Obama truly has become a symbol of restoration in America. To deride that is to deride the millions of people who believe. I am among tens of thousands of them right now.

“The best way you can thank me for my service and sacrifice,” says a Marine on stage who lost his arm in Haditha in 2005, “…is to vote Barack Obama.” He’s one of these tens of thousands. Here’s another speaking to the crowd. “I registered as a Republican and voted for John McCain in 2000,” says Nathaniel Fick, a retired Marine captain, whose story you can find in HBO’s “Generation Kill.” “We cannot afford more of the same. That’s why we need Barack Obama and Joe Biden.” And here’s a third. “We’ve been a band for about 10 years and this is probably the coolest thing we’ve ever done,” says the singer of a bluegrass act called the Mountain String band. “We only get this once in our life, and God bless Barack Obama.”

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