Barack Obama visits Miami (a photo essay)
I tend to associate presidential campaigns with certain songs or musicians.
I will never forget how Fleetwood Mac’s song, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”, gave me so much hope during Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.
And in 2004, after having just returned to Miami after a 10-year hiatus living in various parts of the world, I attended a John Kerry rally at Bayfront Park where Bruce Springsteen performed.
It was also during that time that I became an Eminem fan, mainly because of his anti-Bush song, Mosh.
Last night at the Barack Obama rally, it was Aretha Franklin blasting through the speakers, whom I’ve always rated above the afore-mentioned musicians.
If that’s any indication of how his presidency is going to be, I’m ready to get down, as you can see by the following photo, which was taken by my friend, Al Crespo, who has spent the last few months driving all over the state and traveling the country to photograph the campaign.
You can see Obama in the left side of the photo and the building behind me is the Freedom Tower, considered Miami’s Ellis Island because thousands of Cuban refugees were processed through there during the 1960s after entering the United States.
The rest of the photos on this page were taken by me, with either a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens or a 300mm f/4L lens with a 1.4x extender.
It’s hard to determine how many people attended the event but I’ve heard reports of more than 30,000 people with many people not even getting in because there was such a hold-up through the security gates.
It did seem ill-prepared to only have two metal detectors when so many people were expected. Hell, we have more metal detectors than that at our local high schools.
But despite the typical Miami inefficiency, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, pictured below, kicked off the rally by proclaiming that Miami is blueprint of America with its diverse cultures and ambitious immigrant communities. At least he didn’t call it a “world-class city.” We’re still a few years away from that.
Diaz’s speech was followed by speeches from Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek, Florida Senator Bill Nelson and one of my old favorites, former governor of Florida, Bob Graham, who are pictured below in the order I mentioned them.
Also present was Joe Garcia, pictued below, who is running against Mario Diaz-Balart. It should be noted that Garcia was doing his patriotic duty of wearing an American flag pin.
Also in attendance was Annette Taddeo, a Colombian-American who is trying to oust Ileana Ros-Lehiten. Note that she is also wearing some type of American flag pin on her right shoulder.
And finally Michelle Obama spoke
The crowd was very lively and good-natured, especially considering many of them waited hours to squeeze through the two metal detectors. And some were just counting the days until Bush leaves office.
And others were already looking beyond that
And some people just didn’t give a damn.
And what would a political rally be without a counter demonstrator? You would think they would at least confirm the spelling of the names before hiring a pilot to fly a banner overhead.
And when Obama finally took the stage, the crowd went crazy (I really hate using cliches but it’s late).
And once Obama got on a roll, everybody did their best to catch a glimpse of him.
And when it was over, Michelle joined him onstage and Aretha Franklin started up again. And despite the last eight years of Bushit politics, I won’t stop thinking about tomorrow.