Ypsilanti? Yes, Ypsilanti. Bruce Springsteen in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It’s possible that only Barack Obama could make that possible.
“Hello, Ypsilanti!” Springsteen shouted to the audience of around 11,000. “Glad to be here! I don’t know how to spell it, though.”
Even so, the rock legend seemed very comfortable in this odd-named town that’s an eclectic blend of college students from Eastern Michigan University and blue collar workers. In many ways Ypsilanti is much like the towns Springsteen sings about in his songs; heavily impacted over the years by plant closings and the eternal ups and downs of the automotive industry.
And yet, on a crisp fall day, Ypsilanti seemed full of hope and enthusiasm.
Bruce Springsteen’s “Change Rock” tour landed in Michigan on the last day of the state’s voter registration for the 2008 election. Although the event was billed as the final voter registration drive in the area, it’s likely that many of the attendees arrived already registered. As is the case all around the country, here in Ypsilanti, Obama supporters are enthusiastic and chomping at the bit to cast their vote in this historic election.The crowd was warmed up by local artists Dick Siegel, Kitty Donahoe. and David Mosher. Then local politicians spoke to the audience, including Representative John Dingell (D-Michigan, the longest serving member of the House) and his wife, Debbie as well as Ypsilanti Campaign for Change Field Organizers, Robert Johnson and Shira Levine. Springsteen then played a 50-minute acoustic set in front of a diverse group of Obama supporters. Near the end he paused to deliver what has become something of a stump speech for him. He started by acknowledging that things are looking good in Michigan.
“I know the polls and the Republicans said that they’ve abandoned their attempt to take Michigan. But I wouldn’t be so sure about it,” he warned with a laugh. “Anyways, it’s certainly not a time to take anything for granted. Please make sure you get all your friends and your family out to vote on election day.”
He ended with another warning coupled with a push to rise to the challenge:
“I believe that because our opponents haven’t been able to win on the merits of their arguments, I think what you’re gonna see over the next month is an attack on Senator Obama’s character that’ll probably make the Swiftboaters look fair and balanced. And you’re going to see the politics of distraction and resentment being played to the full and I know one thing:
That they will fail.
‘Cause I don’t know about you but I know that I want my dream back, I want my America back. And I want my country back. So now’s the time to stand up for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, roll up our sleeves, and let’s come on up to the rising.”
NOTE: this panoramic image is fully interactive, going all the way up, all the way down and all the way around. Use your mouse to drag in the direction you want to spin the image (including up into the sky and down to the ground.) You can also use the buttons to do these actions. Clicking “FULLSCREEN” gives the most dramatic effect, allowing it to fill your screen with a high resolution interactive panoramic image.
(Most of the pictures of individuals are Field Organizers or other folks from the Campaign For Change in Ann Arbor, Michigan.)
All images by Anne Savage/Revolutionary Views
I’m just sayin’…