. . . Wednesday July 28, 2004

The Gladiator

It’s Wednesday night at about 8:41pm and I have this to report. Al Sharpton has been the most effective speaker so far. Including everyone.

Sharpton entered the stage with little fanfare. No music. No placards featuring his name. Just a man alone, raw, standing at a preachers podium in the colosseum.

The lions – those who were skeptical about his appearance and whether he would send the right message – were tamed and jumping through flaming hoops after the first few of verses. Don’t get me wrong. I was surprised there wasn’t more debate over whether the Rev would get a speaking slot. Is he a great leader? Nope. Has had a career of solid and remarkable leadership efforts? Come on.

But Al has grown up a bit. He not only spoke without the addition of major intro or a theme song, but it was also during an early time slot. Most the time these speeches simply rattle around among the ballons in the rafters above the murmuring masses. Only the people in front can even hear or are paying much attention.

Al ripped the attention from the back walls to the Arena floor. Judging by the press release featuring his speech, he also went way off script and became for a moment the young kid who would preach standing on a milk crate as a ten year old and mixed that skill with words to deliver the goods.

A freind who’s home in TV Land tells me that the pundits ripped Al for going too long and being too far off message. And there could be just a slight possibilty that an ego the size of the Bronx had something to do with the length and girth of the speech.

I’m not a Sharpton fan. I’m just telling you that he rocked the joint.

He had several standing ovations and left to a lengthy periods of applause. Over and over people cheered and chanted.

You may not like Al (or at least the Al of the past) and this really isn’t much of a story. But I just thought you should know something that probably will not come through on the tube.

Al Sharpton just brought the house down.

Concentration is important!