January 18, 2009

Locals at Inauguration : A reflection of our country

Kirk Visola is a busy man.

Between running a graphic design business with his wife and keeping up with his 8-year-old daughter and twin 5-year-old boys, life can get pretty hectic. His trip to the inauguration seems just as adventurous.

The 1994 Davis High School graduate hopped on a plane for Atlanta to meet a friend, will drive up to Washington D.C., set up accomodations on the floor of a friend of a friend’s house, and with backpack full of camera and video gear, hang out for a couple of days in a soon-to-be cramped Washington, D.C. (He'll also be blogging).

“Back when he and Hillary were still going at it, I told my friend a long time ago — ‘Dude, if Obama wins, I’m going to the inauguration,’ ” Visola said.

Immediately after the election, Visola tried securing tickets through the offices of Sen. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, and Sen. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa. He also contacted the offices of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and just about everyone else he could on the West Coast. Cardoza ended up came through.

“I never thought in my lifetime I’d see a black president,” said Visola, a graduate of San Jose State. “I didn’t think anyone would embrace a black president.”

There were a number of other reasons for that hit home for Visola, including a tax break to the middle class, the potential to get out of Iraq, healthcare reform and his overall charisma.

Visola also said Obama is a simply a great representative of his race, and is more reflective of the country. He said Martin Luther King Jr., was phenomenal, but was cool on two outspoken black leaders that came after him — namely Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan.

“The didn’t really represent, from my perspective, my race,” said Visola, 32.

And other races, too.

“During the campaign, if you looked at his audience, you saw black, white, Asian, Latino,” he said. “From the standpoint of McCain, it was pretty homogenous. “We’re a melting pot, and will always be a melting pot.”

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