Barack Obama and the Elks
July 5, 2005
Since I am constitutionally incapable of watching any presidential conventions on TV, I missed Barack Obama’s speech that shot him into the limelight last summer. A lot of politicians make appearances in Aspen, but Obama was the only one I was ever interested in seeing – even willing to pluck down $25 to see – having a strong desire to know what this guy was about.Apparently half the town had the same idea, as the tent was pretty much packed.I’m no connoisseur of political events, but I liked the “conversational” approach with Walter Isaacson, as opposed to a speech or an oration, and I agreed with everything Barack Obama said except his prediction and endorsement of Hillary Clinton being the next Democratic candidate for president.The last politician I enjoyed listening to was Mario Cuomo, another superman outed at the Democratic convention (and another speech I missed). Obama was centered, smart, articulate and right on the money on Iraq, education, the media, the deficit and health care. And he had a sense of humor, which goes a long way with me. The discussion was excellent right up to the question-and-answer part. Really, somebody should get out there with a shepherd’s crook to drag local orators away from the mike.I don’t know who the Republicans will bring forth as a candidate in 2008, if we survive until then, but to me the important thing is for the Democratic party to come up with a candidate who can win.Obama said that the Democrats shouldn’t look to a new messiah but to get their own platform in order, and he was right about that, but we need new blood for a leader and need a leader who can win.Howard Dean is not going to win; neither is John Kerry nor Al Gore, leaving who: Lieberman? Biden? Hillary Clinton? If the election were held tomorrow, I’d vote for Obama. I watched what was probably the longest Fourth of July parade in Aspen’s history from the Elks building, where senior citizens are treated to lunch, two strong drinks and either sidewalk seating on Galena Street or window seats on the third floor, my chosen spot.Just when everyone thought it was over, another vintage car would appear around the Glenrose Drug corner (insiders know). The final entries were what appeared to be two white trash trucks, which turned out to be street cleaners. The parade was over, and food was served to all us starving, tipsy codgers.Thanks to the sweet BPOE.As my friend Bruce Berger said, “Let the Fourth be with you.” Su Lum is a longtime local who has never seen Aspen so packed. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.