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2008-08-29

Reactions to Obama Speech from the Stands of Spectators to Delegates on the Stadium Floor

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Part II of our interviews with spectators and delegates inside Mile High Stadium in Denver, where Barack Obama addressed more than 84,000 people in the largest crowd at a Democratic convention in US history. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. We are “Breaking with Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency,” broadcasting from Free Speech TV in Denver, live from the streets to the suites to the convention floor — well, that would be a stadium floor, the Mile High Stadium, where Barack Obama addressed more than 84,000 people in the largest crowd at a Democratic convention in US history, surpassing John F. Kennedy’s acceptance address in 1960 at the L.A. Coliseum. An estimated 25 million more people watched Obama on television.

Well, from the endless lines outside to the stands of spectators to the delegates on the stadium floor, today we’re going to wind our way through the delegates. Last night, filmmaker Rick Rowley and I went over to the Washington delegation, because we saw one of the delegates waving an orange T-shirt that said "Shut Down Guantanamo."

    JAMES YEE: James Yee. I’m a Washington state national delegate pledged to Barack Obama. I’m also the former Muslim chaplain — or former US Army Muslim chaplain from Guantanamo Bay. I’m here because I think, actually, Barack Obama has the strongest position on Guantanamo. He pledged to shut it down. He pledged to restore habeas. He pledged to ban torture without exception. And he pledged to adhere to the Geneva Conventions.

    AMY GOODMAN: Did you think you would be here in a football stadium with 70,000 people celebrating him, nominating him?

    JAMES YEE: Well, I heard that was going to happen, and that’s, I guess, from what I understand, breaking away from the traditional nominee acceptance speech inside a convention hall or arena. This is a first-time convention experience myself, but I decided to get involved after, you know, a terrible ordeal that I, myself, suffered through.

    AMY GOODMAN: Which was?

    JAMES YEE: Which was, after serving in Guantanamo as a Muslim chaplain, then being accused myself by the government of conspiring with the prisoners, being profiled, being accused — wrongly accused of being some type of terrorist spy, only to be exonerated later, would quit the military, get an honorable discharge and decide I needed to do something else to try and effect some kind change.

    AMY GOODMAN: I don’t know if the word "torture" has been uttered from the podium of the Democratic National Convention, and if it has, it hasn’t been more than once or twice.

    JAMES YEE: Yeah, you actually are right about that. So far, at this convention, I’ve heard Senator Kerry and then today Governor Richardson talk about closing Guantanamo and stopping torture. I would have hoped that the issues of Guantanamo and torture would have been raised much more, and I hope that it becomes much more of an issue in the next two months, knowing that McCain and Barack Obama have starkly different opinions and positions on Guantanamo.

    Though they both want to shut it down, one still advocates using a system, a judicial system, created by the Military Commissions Act, which is, in my view, less than adequate, not providing full due process. That’s Senator McCain. He also said that the recent Supreme Court decision restoring habeas was one of the worst decisions in the history of the high court. Obama praised that decision as a good one to restore constitutional principles. So it’s my hope that in the next two months, when we see these two candidates debate each other, that Guantanamo is raised more.

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you think Americans care about this issue?

    JAMES YEE: There are some Americans that do, but the reason why Guantanamo is still open and operating today is because there is not enough outrage domestically here in the United States to get it closed down. There is outrage all over the world, but until the American people are outraged to the extent that we force our politicians to close it down, I think it will stay there. And I am someone who wants to help raise that level of awareness to get Guantanamo closed.

    MAJID AL-BAHADLI: Majid Al-Bahadli. I’m from Washington state, from Seattle, originally from Iraq. I’m a national delegate for Washington state, 7CD, King County. I was prisoner of war for almost five years. I feel —

    AMY GOODMAN: Where?

    MAJID AL-BAHADLI: In the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia.

    AMY GOODMAN: Held by whom?

    MAJID AL-BAHADLI: By American soldiers, by the last president. Not Clinton, the Bush, Sr. I feel every time any Bush becomes in the White House affected me. First time, in 1991, it affected me, and they put me in jail for almost four years and a half, almost five, four years and a half, and the second time, occupied my homeland, Iraq. I’m an Iraqi native. I came to the States 1995 as a refugee, and I’m a citizen. I’m a national delegate for Obama. I feel, to change the regime in Iraq, and I feel this time is my time to be success and change the regime in this country.

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: Stephanie Clements.

    AMY GOODMAN: And your name?

    PAUL WALTON: And I’m Paul Walton from San Diego.

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: I am a Republican doctor who can’t get health insurance. How do you like that for irony? And so, Obama is the only one who’s talking change that makes any sense. And we’ve got to just — we’ve got to redo everything. We’ve got to redo the medical system. We’ve got to start paying doctors for prevention. Right now, we have a sickness system. And the system is sick itself, and a Band-Aid is not going to fix it. We’ve got to revamp the way we do medicine. We need to have a healthcare system, not a sickness program. Right now, you’re rewarded — the only benefit you get out of the healthcare system is if you’re sick, if you don’t take care of yourself, or if something awful happens to you that you can’t prevent, God forbid. But we don’t pay doctors for wellness.

    AMY GOODMAN: Are you from Colorado?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: I am. I am. And we’re one of the healthiest states in the country, but we’re still doing terribly. We still have hundreds of thousands of people in Colorado who have no health insurance.

    AMY GOODMAN: Did you vote for George Bush last time?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: I did not. I voted for Al Gore.

    AMY GOODMAN: Did you vote for George Bush in 2000?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: I did not.

    AMY GOODMAN: So what does it mean to be a Republican?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: You know, I’m starting to question that. I’m really starting to question that. I may be re-registering, you know.

    PAUL WALTON: I’m representing Millionaires for Barack Obama.

    AMY GOODMAN: Seriously?

    PAUL WALTON: Actually, I just started that. I think that actually has a ring to it. I think this is the genesis right here. That’s right. I’m going to form a club: Millionaires for Obama.

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: Although Obama’s not a club guy.

    PAUL WALTON: Well, no, it’s a —

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: It would be a community service project.

    PAUL WALTON: Even better. Look at that, you see?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: That’s what it would be.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, explain.

    PAUL WALTON: Well, I’ll explain it in the sense that I know that in my pocket I have more to gain by voting Republican. But it’s not all about how much money is in my pocket. It’s about how other people in this country feel. It’s not all about me. So I’m voting my heart, not my pocketbook, by voting for Barack.

    AMY GOODMAN: Have you ever voted for a Democrat before?

    PAUL WALTON: I’m actually a registered Independent, so I always vote for who I feel would be the best. And, of course, I have. Al Gore — I voted for him last.

    AMY GOODMAN: So it’s millionaires for Obama?

    PAUL WALTON: Millionaires for Obama, starting right now.

    AMY GOODMAN: How did you make your money?

    PAUL WALTON: Sprint, long-distance telephone service. I was involved in the startup of Sprint back in the ’80s, before cell phones..

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the whole controversy around telecommunications companies spying on Americans?

    PAUL WALTON: Well, you know, it’s like the horse before the cart, or the cart before the horse. Who’s the one — who’s leading this pack? Is it the government that’s instructing them to do it, or is it the phone companies arbitrarily doing it and the country allowing it to happen? I think the beginning is on the governmental level. It starts with the current administration. These things would not be happening if we had an administration that cared more about the freedoms of the individuals of this country. And that’s what’s being robbed, and to me that’s the number one issue today.

    The word "terrorism" has replaced “McCarthyism.” It’s the same thing. It’s another “ism” thirty, forty years later. And labeling people terror — you know, in the name of terrorism, America has become subservient to this current administration, in the name of fear, and that’s got to stop, and we’ve got to bring back our individual liberties, and that’s what I feel is paramount.

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: My daughter served in the Navy in Guantanamo. And the things that happened down there were horrific, and it wasn’t that it just affects — I’m sorry, the prisoners there. She came back messed up. She came back with an alcohol problem. And, you know, her Navy benefits wouldn’t pay for rehab at all. She wants to go back to school. She’s working two jobs right now, trying to save money, and she wants to go back to school, and her Navy benefits, her GI benefits, aren’t coming through. She doesn’t get to start again in the fall, because they’re not there, and this is happening to our young people. They earned this. They worked for this. They earned this. She has nightmares. Her name’s Brittany, and God bless her. She’s one of the bravest people I know. She worked, and she served this country.

    AMY GOODMAN: How long was she there?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: She was there for two years.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what did she do?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: She was an aerographer’s mate, which is sort of an oceanographer, weather forecaster, but they all kind of got put through the rotations, you know? And the violence there begat violence, soldier against soldier. She had one of her own Navy people punch her in the face and break her nose. The violence doesn’t stop. Once you start it, it’s infectious, it’s contagious, it’s horrible. I mean, can we at least thank her for her service by giving her the benefits that she worked so hard for? I don’t know what we’re going to do. I’m going to hit the congressional delegation, and we’re going to make some noise. So don’t be surprised if you see us calling a news conference, because there are tons of kids in this situation. She’s twenty-four years old, and her brother is going to beat her through college. Her twenty-one-year-old brother is going to handily beat her through college. That’s not the point. She needs her education. And she paid for it, dearly. So how about it?

    AMY GOODMAN: Can I get your information?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: You bet. Did I give you a card? I got one out. What did I do with it? It says medical media on it. It’s kind of a — yeah, there it is. There it is.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get emotional, but, man, I’ve watched that kid struggle. I mean, she works full-time at Home Depot and then works part-time at FedEx, just trying to pay off the bills. And, you know, rehab was $23,000, thank you very much. She works two jobs, full-time at Home Depot and part-time at a FedEx, Kinko’s, and she’s trying to pay her medical bills. She’s trying to — you know, rehab was $23,000, thank you very much, you know, but it wasn’t optional.

    AMY GOODMAN: Why doesn’t her Navy benefits cover it?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: They just simply don’t. And the worst thing that can happen, if you push it and they label you with a personality disorder, you’re done. You will never get any more Navy benefits. That’s their codeword for, hey, this person’s out of here. And so, they’re afraid. I mean, someday, you know, when she passes away, she wants to be buried in a Navy cemetery.

    AMY GOODMAN: Did she witness abuse at Guantanamo?

    STEPHANIE CLEMENTS: There’s a lot of things she can’t talk about, and she won’t talk about that. By some things that she has said, yeah. Oh, yeah.

    REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: Sheila Jackson-Lee. I represent the 18th congressional district in Houston, Texas, and a member of the Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs Committee.

    I think tonight Senator Obama did just what he needed to do. He gave a serious, deliberative message to the American people. I think what was most important is he opened again the opportunity that American families mean something in this country. He was not afraid to talk about the fact that this war in Iraq must end, something that we have been struggling with now since this president took us to war in 2003 and since the resolution was voted on in 2002. It was good to hear someone who is seeking the presidency talk about ending the war and bringing the troops home.

    And then I think he captured, if you will, the right kind of balance between inspiration and opportunity: the inspiration of his words and his messages, but also an opportunity for America. It’s going to have to be us, is what he said. We’re going to have to make the difference. We’re going to have to accept him, unique as he is, as the Democratic nominee who can be president. And lastly, something that I said this morning, Democrats and others of good will are going to have to get to work, and there’s going to have to be a constant action of work until we win in November of 2008.

    AMY GOODMAN: Did you support him from the beginning?

    REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: I was the national co-chair for Hillary Rodham Clinton. And again, I spoke throughout the week to different audiences, and I said we all may have started somewhere, maybe on a different track, but it is now time for Democrats not to take up the mantle of attacking Democrats, but it is now time for us to find Republicans and Independents and Democrats from every walk of life, because it is too serious a time for America for there to be one doubt that we not take the White House in November.

    AMY GOODMAN: Why did you choose Hillary Rodham Clinton first, and what allows you to make the bridge?

    REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: I chose her, because obviously in a working relationship, we worked together on women’s issues. This monumental challenge to elect a woman to the presidency, a qualified woman, was something that was very near and dear to me. Someone who I’d worked with. One of our closest alliances was fighting against the bankruptcy bill that ultimately was signed into law by President Bush.

    AMY GOODMAN: That Joe Biden so forcefully supported.

    REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: Well, as I say, there are many differences in the Democratic Party. It’s a big tent. But we just heard Senator Obama talk about bankruptcy laws, and he is the person who’s running for president of the United States. We’re in sync. He wants to have the kind of bankruptcy laws that does not create the Enron crisis that I experienced in my own congressional district.

    But I worked hard for Hillary, because I believe in the power of empowering women and the disenfranchised. But I also had the opportunity to see Senator Obama as he raced toward the White House. He was a colleague before, someone I didn’t know as well as Senator Clinton, but I find myself not saying an unkind word about him. And so, knowing what the mission is about the Supreme Court, understanding that this war must end, that the fight in Afghanistan is growing larger but not being successful, realizing what’s happening in Pakistan and South Asia, looking at Africa and the resurgence of HIV/AIDS in this country, I want a president that has a heart and mind that I can believe in. And I can believe in him, and I’m ready to go to work.

    JEREMY SCAHILL: We heard Senator Obama invoke the name and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King tonight. At the same time, he called for an escalation of a war against another country. Martin Luther King was a pacifist and didn’t believe that war was just. Do you see a contradiction there?

    REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: There is — these are tough times, and Martin Luther King did oppose the Vietnam War. I worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and I knew him as a man that did not bow down to pressure. I think what Senator Obama is saying, that in this climate of 9/11, the war in Afghanistan is where the crux of the crisis started, as it relates to 9/11 and where Osama bin Laden is. And I think he simply said tonight that we need to finish the job so that we can gain again the moral level and the moral angel of being able to speak, if you will, to diplomacy and peace.

    I happen to be a co-sponsor of the United States Department of Peace. I hope to be able to convince our president, President Obama, to join us. Obviously, Dennis Kucinich spoke, and I think he is very open-minded to this concept. So I think what Senator Obama is saying today: finish the task, bring the troops home from Iraq, so that we can move toward a nation of peace.

    JEREMY SCAHILL: Another issue that particularly affects your state, the state of Texas, is the death penalty. Senator Obama is in favor of the death penalty. Do you agree with him on that stance?

    REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE: Well, I don’t know his direct opinion on it. I believe that his support of the death penalty is with qualifications. Certainly, I think that he understands the need for protection of the mentally ill, the young, a lot of different problems with the death penalty. My view is, of the death penalty, is that I believe we need to have a Supreme Court to revisit the question and to find in America a provision nationwide for parole — for imprisonment with life, if you will, without parole. But I think if we don’t get Senator Barack Obama, we will not have the opportunity to select Supreme Court judges who will actually review the death penalty and come to where many of us might want it to be. I have seen in Texas, if you will, unparalleled executions, people who I fought to prevent their execution. I’m ready for a Supreme Court to make a distinction and a difference, and we can only get that done with Senator Barack Obama as president of the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Texas Congress member Sheila Jackson-Lee on the convention floor, or we should say the floor of the stadium, the Mile High Stadium, where Barack Obama gave his historic nomination acceptance speech last night. When we come back, more voices from the convention, including Washington Wizards’ Etan Thomas.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Sheryl Crow singing "A Change Would Do Us Good." She was singing in the stadium, the Mile High Stadium, Invesco Stadium in Denver, where Barack Obama gave his historic address. Over 84,000 people packed in, many residents, as well as delegates from all over the country, were there. Filmmaker Rick Rowley and I made our way, after the speech, over to the seats of the Illinois delegation.

    REV. WILLIE BARROW: I’m a reverend, Reverend Willie Barrow, B-A-R-R-O-W, and I’m a superdelegate, and I’m from Chicago, Illinois. And this was just miraculous. And I see it from — not just from a political point of view. I believe that the time has come, through God. He is going to use Obama and all of us who will commit ourselves for change. Change must happen, and it must happen now. This nation, not just America, must survive.

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you know Barack Obama personally?

    REV. WILLIE BARROW: That’s my godson. He’s my godson.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

    REV. WILLIE BARROW: You don’t have godchildren? You don’t?

    AMY GOODMAN: But tell me — tell me about your godson. How did you first meet Barack?

    REV. WILLIE BARROW: Well, he came to — we have a broadcast every Saturday morning, and —- from 10:00 to 11:00, and he was bringing those two little girls every Saturday morning alone. I had never met and we had never seen Michelle, and I was so impressed with him, just because you don’t see a man bringing two little girls up nowhere publicly every Saturday. So I was very impressed with him. So, I guess he caught my spirit.

    And he said to me one Saturday, “Reverend Barrow, could I talk with you?” I said, “Do you want to make an appointment?” He said, “No, I want to talk with you now.” I said, “Come on over.” And he said, “Do you have godchildren?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Could I be one?” I said, “Of course.” And that’s how we started. And we just worked, and we just -—

    And he’s such a dedicated family man. And without families, doom today. 76 percent of all families are raised by women. 80 percent of all marriages end in divorce. And here is a man, a real man, a Christian man, a husband man and a father man, and a family man, and an educated man. And he sure is good-looking. And that kind of man, we need to turn this country around.

    AMY GOODMAN: What did you think of the whole controversy with Reverend Wright?

    REV. WILLIE BARROW: Oh, most people don’t understand the black church. And controversy don’t make you leave no church, either, because I don’t agree with everything my husband says, and you don’t, either. I don’t believe in everything my father said, but I ain’t gonna leave home. And I stayed with one man for fifty-six years. I ain’t gonna leave him because I disagree, because I can communicate with him. And I don’t agree with everything my pastor said, so — and he was there for twenty years. But that strengthened him. Now, that’s the way I feel about it. But because God is a forgiving god, and he loves — he was there twenty years. And if that had been me, I probably never would have left, because me and my pastor, who is sitting right here in this audience tonight, we don’t agree everything, but I ain’t going to leave the church.

    AMY GOODMAN: So were you mad at your godson, Barack, for leaving?

    REV. WILLIE BARROW: No. No, no, no. He’s got a right to leave, just like Hillary is one of my best friends, always has been. I called and told her. I called and told her. I said, “Hillary, this time I can’t go with you. I got to go with Obama.” And I said, “But I’m going to send you a check, and I know that a lot of the women that’s with you. We’re not going to fall out. We’re not going to disagree. We are more intelligent than that.”

    AMY GOODMAN: And your union?

    LEE MEDLEY: Lee Medley. I’m the vice president of Local 13-1 in Houston-Galveston, Texas. I’m also the political guy for the district council, and I am the president of the Galveston County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.

    AMY GOODMAN: Steelworkers?

    LEE MEDLEY: I am a steelworker and proud of it.

    Today was awesome, great. They wanted some red meat; they got it. Obama put out there what we got — need to do and where we need to go. So, that Limbaugh and all those clowns can see what they can do with that, because he put it out there for them.

    AMY GOODMAN: You’re a steelworker?

    LEE MEDLEY: I’m a steelworker.

    AMY GOODMAN: What’s your situation today? What’s the issue for steelworkers?

    LEE MEDLEY: Foreign trade is one of our big issues, Employee Free Choice Act. A lot of people would like to join a labor union; they don’t have that opportunity because of the way the labor laws are being dictated in this country.

    AMY GOODMAN: Your thoughts on NAFTA?

    LEE MEDLEY: NAFTA — my true thoughts? It sucks. I mean, if it was doing so well for the Mexican people, why are so many of them people trying to come over here? And it sure hasn’t done anything for our economy or our jobs. I mean, it’s done stuff for the wealthy. But for our average working guy, first our jobs went to Mexico, now they’re going to China.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think Barack Obama would do about that?

    LEE MEDLEY: Barack Obama has already said he would pull NAFTA back and change some of the provisions to cover for labor, for environmental provisions, and enforce those, not just put them in there. He said that he’s opposed to fast track.

    AMY GOODMAN: What about John McCain?

    LEE MEDLEY: John McCain will be more of the same. He’ll — the man said he would like to work a trade deal with any country that would want one.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re from the same state as our president.

    LEE MEDLEY: Well, I don’t know about that. I think he’s from Maine somehow. I didn’t vote for him there, and I sure didn’t vote for him for president. I will say, President Bush did tell the truth about one thing: he said he would do for America what he did to Texas, and he damn sure did.

    ETAN THOMAS: My name is Etan Thomas from the Washington Wizards. And, you know, this is really just a great time and an exciting time. The convention was great, you know, and it was great to really listen to Obama just lay out the — his exact platform. You know, of course it’s always going to be interesting to see how Fox News and the rest of the Republicans spin it, but, you know, he was definitely direct. You know, they wanted him to be direct with John McCain, and he was direct with John McCain. They wanted him to lay out exactly what his platform is and what his goals are, and he laid it out.

    You know, they started to try to do the rift between the Clintons and Obamas, and, you know, the Clintons kind of, you know, put that to rest yesterday. Of course, they’ll still probably say something, but, you know, this is just an exciting time.

    And you’re seeing, especially with young people, a new interest in politics. You know, young people are really tired of the Bush administration. They’re tired of what’s been going on in the past. And everyone has different things that they’re definitely passionate about, but it’s really a great time, and you’re seeing a different passion for politics that you haven’t seen in a really long time. And that’s because of Barack Obama

    JEREMY SCAHILL: Given how outspoken you’ve been about the Iraq war, tonight we heard a speech where Barack Obama invoked the name and legacy of Martin Luther King and that also called for an escalation of war against another country, Afghanistan. Do you have a problem with that, or do you see a contradiction there?

    ETAN THOMAS: Well, I don’t see a contradiction. The main thing was about keeping American safe. And, you know, it’s about fighting the right war, not just an irresponsible war. And that’s what we’re in with Iraq right now: an irresponsible war, a war that we have no business being in in the first place. But if the goal is to protect America and to respond after 9/11, the people that attacked us are in Afghanistan. So, you know, it’s about fighting the right war, not just, you know, a war for political gain or oil or, you know, wanting to control the Middle East and all the different reasons that we went to Iraq.

    AMY GOODMAN: How do you think the world has changed in the last eight years?

    ETAN THOMAS: It’s changed for the worse, you know, through this Bush administration. I mean, you — we’re in a recession right now. I mean, I can go down the line from, you know, education. You know, my mother’s a teacher, and that’s really a passion of mine, but, you know, you see the educational system, especially in the inner city schools, and it’s just not fair. You know, they raise the standards by which they measure education, but they don’t raise the actual levels of education. And then, you know, they try to make it — you know, it’s just the entire process is just really to keep the inner city schools from being able to achieve, and it’s — you know, Barack Obama said it today: the reason why that him and his wife are successful, where they are, is because they had a chance of an education. And if you don’t give somebody a chance, then, you know, you’re kind of crippling them before they even get a chance to start.

    But I can go through every topic. I mean, the — right now, the country is really — you know, it’s time for a change. And I don’t want to sound cliché-ist, but that’s why everyone is so excited about Barack Obama, is just the idea of a change, you know? And people, of course, always ask the question, what if he’s not as good as what we think he is? But the fact is that even if he’s only half of what we think he is, he’d still be ten times better than the Bush administration.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think he has to do to win?

    ETAN THOMAS: Keep doing what he’s doing. You know, he doesn’t have to resort to the same old type of politics that the, you know, McCain group have been doing. You know, he might have to respond to all the swift-boating and all the different things, “Obamanation” and the things that you’ll be seeing, you know, from here on out. He handles it with class and with dignity. He shows the parts that he disagrees with with John McCain, but he still is respectful. And you should be able to disagree without having to tear somebody down, or, you know, just their entire person or their — you know, attack their patriotism. You know, you should be able to just disagree, and that was one of his points.

    AMY GOODMAN: You’re thoughts on the death penalty? Barack Obama is not opposed to the death penalty.

    ETAN THOMAS: No, I don’t agree with everything that Barack Obama says, because I’m definitely opposed to the death penalty. I’ve been speaking out against that pretty much, you know, for quite some time now. But, you know, there’s not going to be a person — there’s no person, really, that I agree with completely everything that they believe in, except for Jesus, you know what I mean? So I’m not going to agree with Obama on everything. But, I mean, I could — I don’t agree with the Bush administration and McCain on hardly anything, so, you know, there’s a big difference.

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you have any rap on Barack Obama?

    ETAN THOMAS: Well, I’m always doing poetry. So I — you want me to do something? OK, I could do something.

    This country has been going through eight long years of mismanagement and misrule, cruel and unusual. Beyond our borders, our national pride barely stays afloat. Along a river of the poor choices and irresponsible actions that we’ve delivered, instead of flowing as powerfully as a mighty stream, we seem to be looked upon through eyes of disdain, a stained creation brought about by the decisions of the Bush administration. What will keep us from drowning? Crowning the correct captain to command our ship, to steer us past the debris left on the open sea over the past eight years. With a real commander-in-chief, we can recover a strength that will last. Cast into a sea of endless possibilities, politics as usual will be a thing of the past. It’s time for a change.

    ANTONIA GONZALEZ: My name is Antonia Gonzalez, and I’m from Seattle, Washington. I was born in Texas, close to the border of Mexico. My parents are immigrants from Mexico. And I’m supporting Barack Obama. Mostly, it’s spiritual. I’ve heard a couple things that he has said on one of his prayers. And then when he was going to pick a vice president, where he said that he didn’t want someone that was into the ego or for themselves. I’m not — I really like Joe Biden, but I’m just a little worried about his foreign policy. He’s real strong in that, but — how do I say this?

    AMY GOODMAN: Have you been a Barack Obama supporter from the beginning?

    ANTONIA GONZALEZ: Yes, I was. I have been, yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: I see your earrings, “Si, se puede,” with a picture of Barack Obama.

    ANTONIA GONZALEZ: Yes. That — I like the “Si, se puede.” That was part of it, too, because that came from Cesar Chavez, and I believe there’s a change going on. There’s — even if the change doesn’t happen, I have some hope.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the convention floor. That is the Mile High Stadium in Denver.

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