Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-15
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dear Readers,

I felt very special covering my first Presidential rally.  Barack Obama spoke on August 4th (Obama's birthday) at the Lansing Center.  I was up early and excited about the opportunity.  I was so comfortable and nervous at the same time. 

When I drove up to the Lansing Center, I could feel the energy as I rode by the line of people curling down Michigan Avenue.   I watched as a plume of smoke went up in the air and wondered what that was all about.  I later found out that a Lansing Police car burst into flames.  According to bystanders, they heard a pop pop noise and then the empty police car caught on fire.  That was the extent of our excitement.

When I received news that Obama had landed at the airport, my heart began to race.  My family has been riveted to the television screen since Obama started his run.  My children know who Obama is and believes that he will win because of Oprah.  I laughed when  they said that but my children are only 6 and 7.  I knew something happened when my daughter started running around the house chanting “Obama, Obama, Obama”.   I realized that she was smitten.  It takes our young people some times to get you involved in the political arena. 

I remember my father, who will have celebrated a birthday on Apri1 18 and those he supported when they were running.  My father who was always the volunteering police officer had the opportunity to take pictures of many of the political powerhouses in New York City, including David Dinkins, Bella Abzug, Mayor Edward Koch and Shirley Chislom just to name a few.

As the crowd began to roar, I felt a tingle on the side of my cheek.  I began to smile as I clutched my camera.  I thought to myself, “Daddy, I know you would have liked Obama even though you are an Independent.  I miss you right now and I know how you felt behind the camera.  I only hope now that I'm turn out as good as you.”

The crowd sang Happy Birthday to Obama who also managed to be at a rally in Lansing on his birthday. 

I put my camera into focus and started snapping pictures.  I could hear my father telling me that I celebrate his life every time I take a picture, every time I smile and every time I tell my little sister that heaven is treating him well.

I smiled and settled in to hear Obama shine his brilliance on the crowd.  I clutched my camera and peer through its lens.

I take a picture of the cheering crowd and wished that my father was standing beside me documenting history as he had done so many times before.


Rina Risper


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