WARNING: No flaming this post please. I’m not in the mood, and I’ll delete the comments without hesitation.
I wasn’t going to blog about this, because in today’s politically charged climate, it’s no fun getting hateful comments on what amounts to a person’s public diary… but here I go anyway.
This morning, Judi and I woke up around 5:15 and went to a Barack Obama political rally. After a couple false starts (I forgot my e-ticket and dropped a ham & egg sandwich) and a quick trip to the bank, we finally got on the road and headed to the George Mason University campus, in Fairfax, Virginia.
It rained most of the way there. It’s getting light around 7:15 in the morning these days, so it wasn’t exactly the best time — rush hour and damp, and dark and in an unfamiliar part of the county–but we eventually got there around 7:45. The rains had just cleared off, which was good, because the line to enter the football stadium was already quite long.
So… we stood there. and we stood there. And we stood there. Then we’d walk three steps. and we’d stand there some more. The line grew longer, and we could see neither the beginning nor the end of the folks there to see the President. Also, we stood there. some more. Finally, around 10:30, we took our place in the back of an astroturfed football field, near a fence, and about 20 feet from the loudspeakers.
Occasionally, people with sign-up sheets would walk buy, asking us to volunteer our time to knock on doors and operate phone banks. I didn’t sign up. If you know me at all, this wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you. Nobody would even glance in my direction. I guess I finally mastered what an old college acquaintance called “the Bus Face” (for keeping the more interesting folks from sitting near you on the metropolitan bus system). However, but every single clipboard-laden fool who walked within 10 feet of us would hit Judi up. She eventually resorted to lying to these poor folks, since we’d see one ever couple minutes, and she was too nice to just ignore them.
Every 30 minutes or so, a college student would shout “Are you fired up? (Woooooo!) Are you ready to go? (Wooooooo!)”. No. I was neither. I just wanted coffee and a folding lawn chair. I took it in stride. Around 11 o clock, a number of speakers began saying their things. An old Air Force geezer led us in the pledge of allegiance. Some very very large woman with a nice voice sang the national anthem. A reverend led us in a prayer, which ended before I knew it had even begun–I thought she was giving a pre-prayer speech, when suddenly “Amen.” Whatever. Then they introduced Rep. Jerry Connolly. All there to warm up the crowd.
The free-enterprise folk were selling tee shirts and buttons and baseball caps and stickers. Judi bought a hat. I was content with a free bottle of Kirkland water.
Finally, at 11:55 the President arrived. We could see the motorcade: black SUVs, a limo with flashing red and blue lights, a shiny black armored truck that looked like an assault vehicle. The speech lasted about 20 minutes. During the speech, a team of a dozen paramedics arrived to help a clearly-unconscious woman about 50 feet in front of us.
Then we sat in the car 30 minutes. We figured the traffic would clear out and we’d be on our way to a quick lunch. Wrong. We sat. and sat and sat. I left the car and walked across the street to buy smoothies and a couple crappy boxed sandwiches. One hour later, the logjam FINALLY broke and we headed home.
I’m sore all over. The president never even let us sit on his lap to ask us what we wanted for the next 4 Christmases. Still, it was free, and it’s not every day you get to see the POTUS, right?