More Obama Rally Vignettes

6:03 p.m., close to Hitt Street and Rollins Street

Marc McKee just formed the back of the line, which had by then become a U-shaped mass reaching from the north end of Carnahan Quadrangle on Ninth Street. He is a graduate student at MU.

The first question came out sounding too existential, too “why are you here?” Rephrased, it’s What makes you wait in line for 3 and 1/2 hours to see a politician speak?

“It’s the whole force of the cultural event itself,” McKee said. His experience with mass cultural gatherings have been limited by pop culture – movies and shows. He can only compare the sheer size of this to Lollapalooza. The mood in the street reflects this kind of civic-cultural amalgamation.

McKee said he’s an Obama supporter, but that it’s been tough to support the way the election has been playing out on television of late. Obama’s popularity is something of a phenomenon, he said.

McKee’s said he’s wary that the phenomenon is merely a product of political charisma, but for Obama to visit in the final week is also affirming.

A cultural event that’s also an affirmation? This sounds like Change with a capital “C.”

“Also, my wife made my come.”

6:10, in front of McDonald’s

MTV is packing up and the line for double cheeseburgers is 20-people out the door. Fred Mixon moved to Columbia from St. Louis three weeks ago and he’s brought his whole family — two boys, two girls, his wife and sister-in-law.

Mixon is startled by the length of the line as he reaches Hitt Street, baby in hand.

“I thought we were going to be early,” he said.

Mixon runs through the decision-making process he went through over the course this year.

“He promises change and he has good policies,” Mixon said. “I mean did you see Bill Clinton in Florida last night? That was a brand new Bill Clinton.

“I just think he’s more sincere,” Mixon said. “I was pretty open, I wasn’t necessarily going to back the Democratic party. I’m open for change…I think McCain wasted a lot of time going after Obama, I mean, what is his economic plan?”

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