Yesterday, I got the opportunity to hear one of the most charismatic, exciting speakers to ever come to USC, President Barack Obama. He came to rally the public in support of the democratic candidates in the upcoming election on November 2nd. Obviously because buzz had been growing about the rally and that Obama was coming, almost all of USC and many people from the surrounding neighborhoods and the city of Los Angeles piled into Alumni Park to listen to his speech. People lined up as early as 4 am just to make sure they got a good view of the rally. I didn’t have such stamina as to get up that early (partially because I was up until about 4 am finishing up my homework anyway). I got in line around 10 am with some of my friends and we actually ended up getting a pretty good view of the rally. The line to get in wrapped all the way down Jefferson, curled around down 34th st. to Cafe 84 and then curled back up 34th street to Trousdale where it then led into alumni park. The line moved pretty slowly because everyone who went to the rally had to go through a metal detector. But we didn’t care if it took hours. Everyone was so excited at the prospect of hearing Obama speak that the wait didn’t seem bad at all. Plus there was much to keep us entertained along the way. Many people were walking up and down the line protesting various political parties or positions, yelling out catchy (and not so catchy) quips. As we passed the United University Church there was a band playing a cover of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” that was actually quite good. They took a slower jazzier take on the song, which gave it new life. But all this was just to pass the time before the real event.
Once we got into Alumni Park, my friends and I immediately surveyed the scene for the best viewing spot. Ultimately we decided to trail along the outer edge of the fence to get as close to the podium as possible. Once we settled into a spot all we had to do was wait, and wait we did. There were a lot more speakers than I expected before Obama came on. He didn’t actually end up speaking until 30 minutes after he was supposed to. But once he did start, it was all worth it. I’ve seen videos of his speeches before but it was nothing like hearing him live. He is such a charismatic and moving speaker. He was also speaking to the youths in the crowd when he urged us to go out and vote in the upcoming election, which made me feel like he was talking directly to me. One of the best lines in his speech was when he was talking about democrats and republicans and said something to the effect of “when you want to go forward, you put your car in D, and when you want to go backwards you put it in R.” Even though this wasn’t the most persuasive or intellectual argument, it was a very clever metaphor and it got the point across. All in all I’m so glad I went. This is definitely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.