Let’s put political views and rhetoric aside for the day and just step back and look at this moment.
Just a few minutes ago Barack Obama became the first African-America president in the history of the United States.
To put this in perspective when Obama was born in 1961 the Voters Rights Acts that allowed blacks to vote was still four years away from being signed by President Johnson. And when Obama stood before that sea of people in Washington D.C. today he stood on the shoulders of those who went before him. There was Jesse Owens who was shunned by Hitler, there was Jackie Robinson who was shunned by a chunk of the nation, and there was Martin Luther King Jr who was stunned by a bullet.
If we just look at the last 47 years from a racial perspective since Obama’s birth the change while not necessarily swift has been sweeping in scope. Sure there are struggles. There always will be because we are human. But this day is a symbolic mark for the United States.
As far as Screenwriting from Iowa? How about screenwriting and Iowa? Two things come to mind.
Screenwriting: At least in fiction, the first black American president (as far as I know) actually happened back in 1964 in the novel The Man by Irving Wallace which became a film in 1972 starring James Earl Jones as President of the United States with the screenplay written by Rod Serling. The pen has always had power to lead the way which is why Plato wrote a few thousand years ago that poets should be banned as a danger to society.
Iowa: I ended up seeing 12 presidential candidates in this last election and the first one I saw speak was Obama in Oelwein (pop. 6,692), Iowa in the summer of ’07. That’s where I took the above photo. I ended up being hired to videotape him in Waterloo, Iowa and happened to be at the Iowa State Fair when we crossed paths once again. I was always interested to watch the people and how they responded to him. But even as his momentum grew it was still a surprise that he won the Iowa caucus.
And the chances are good that without that win in Iowa Obama wouldn’t have been sworn in as President in Washington today. Depending on your political view you can credit or blame Iowa.
“What you started here in Iowa has swept the nation.” Barack Obama
“I don’t think we’ll ever quite capture the feeling of that night in Iowa when we won. This is hallowed ground for us.” David Axerod
(Huh, this is Field of Dreams territory and sometimes confused with heaven. )
Just one more example of big things having their seeds planted in small places. And let’s all hope that Obama does a great job as President.
And lastly, I’m not a 100% sure but I think those large lights you saw in the wide shot as Obama spoke at the inauguration were Musco lights that are made here in Iowa. They are also not strangers to film shoots where large areas need lit with portable lights.
Words & Photo Copyright 2009 Scott W. Smith