Glimpse the intensity of a campaign rally and the racism that still pervades too much of America
In five days Barack Obama hopes that after two years on the campaign trail Americans will vote to support his oft-articulated vision of change and hope. His remarkable infomercial that ran on US television last night ended with this live speech.
If you're wondering about the fuss around all this talk of change in the US, about why friends of mine in California are giddy with anticipation, and about the profound impact a competent African American president can have on a country that has such a long way to go in dealing with the "original sin" of its race relations, then watch this video that Al Jazeera TV filmed in rural Ohio. Remember, there are many Americas and millions of Americans will be as horrified as you when viewing this. Heck, the polls say that Obama is going to win Ohio despite these folks. But it's a reminder why change matters.
It's not just Ohio, of course. This from pollsters in Texas:
In order to gauge public awareness of Obama's religion, we asked respondents, "What do you believe Barack Obama's religion to be?" A plurality, 45.5%, chose the "Protestant" option, and 28 % couldn't say. Twenty percent, however, said that Obama is a Muslim.
It's enough to make you weep... And a final observation. Isn't it interesting that Obama did his live link from Florida, appearing there with Bill Clinton. If Obama wins Ohio and Pennsylvania, which looks likely, he doesn't need Florida. But it looks like the Democrats really want to put the ghost of 2000 and those dimpled chads to rest and re-energise their base by taking back the state that caused them so much agony eight years ago.