By Martine Powers
CHICAGO, 1:19 a.m. — As satellite uplink trucks from news stations worldwide
thronged alongside the entrance to the site of Tuesday’s Obama rally
in Grant Park, a leisurely ballad rang out into the night, accompanied
by the velvety strumming of a guitar.
“Oh, oh, oh…. Obama…
The Declaration of Independence… The Bill of Rights…
The U.S. Constitution…
Martin Luther King, I Have a Dree-ee-eam…”
The man singing his ode to Obama had a small American flag stuck in
the back of his cap and another laced between the strings on his
guitar. Sitting on a bench, a pair of headphones over his ears and
another clinging to his left shoulder, the man waited expectantly for
Obama to arrive at Grant Park so he would be able to sing his Obama
song to the presidential candidate himself.
Clad in a Hawaiian t-shirt and ragged blue jeans, the man is a
self-proclaimed singer-songwriter, but declined to give his name.
(“You could be an FBI agent, you could be from the government,” the
man told a reporter. “Or you could steal my song lyrics.”)
His purpose in sitting on a bench outside of Grant Park one day in
advance of Obama’s rally?
To show support for the Illinois senator, who is extremely popular
here in Chicago, he said. And to try a find a way of performing
onstage with Obama during the rally as well. But that last part is
“just a fantasy,” the man added sheepishly.
The middle-aged man, who is white with short brown hair, said Obama
is “like a rainbow nation,” a leader who looks “just like you and me.”
After undergoing heart bypass surgery nine months ago, the man said,
he felt grateful he had the health to witness the results of Tuesday’s
election day. Even Chicago’s temperate, breezy weather seemed to be a
sign that fate was about to smile on Chicago, the man said.
“We’ve got some good times coming. He’s going to be friendly, a
friendly president,” the man said.
And what will the man do after Tuesday night’s election rally? He
thinks to himself, softly plunking at the strings of his guitar.
“After Obama comes here and after he hears my song, I’ll stay here, at
Grant Park, playing my guitar,” the man said. “I’ll just be singing my
song until I can catch a train home.”
And where is home?
“I can’t tell you that,” the man said. “I know you’re trying to get
me. You’re from the C.I.A.”