I found out about last night's Obama benefit at the Hammerstein Ballroom through a young lawyer and former colleague's repeated emails. Then the moment I walked into the venue, I ran into a graduate of my law school. Raising her skimpy voice to top the Stevie Wonder and soulful funk classics blaring in the background (the gangsta rappers were *not* in this house), she in turn introduced me to her friends and new husband, obviously former *firm* colleagues. As I looked around, I could have easily been at any of the 3 or 4 law school social events I dreadfully attended during my three years there. Nicely dressed, young, the type who rationalize every step and decision. Though they had paid the not-so-cheap entrance fee, I know many were here looking for clues to how to make a decision that is to occur in 2008 and would listen attentively for pluses and minuses, mental checklists in tow.
Then when Barack started his speech (after a brief intro by the head of Brooklyn for Barack and Ben Harper's rendition of "With my own two hands") he insisted that he believed in "reason-based, fact-based social change" before spending a minute or two explaining why moral solutions--which he outlined --to healthcare, the war and global warming are also the most cost-efficient. Could this be torts all over again? Social change through law and economics [gulp]? Yes.
But then Barack, looking "hot" in his gorgeous smile and lanky figure, went emotional on us. Why he believed in hope. Why he liked to talk about hope so much. The ordinary people who, hoping against hope, marched in Selma, hoping to make him possible not even knowing he existed. (He was just 4.) How this kind of opportunity to hope happens rarely, maybe once every generation.
Though the speech started like a torts class, it ended like a (welcome) preacher's sermon in both substance and delivery. That's Barack for you.
See my slideshow.
Update 6/25: I found video of an excerpt of the speech here, at Dula's Myspace page. Oh and ... scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post for audio of the FULL speech! :-)
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