Happy Friday, my friends. I am treating myself to a couple of hours of WordPress time, since I wanted to catch up on what you’ve been talking about lately. I’ve read a bunch of stuff so far and have seen a lot of wonderful posts. I didn’t get to everyone on my blogroll but when I can, I will.
And I’m also here for an update. Yes, I went to see President Obama speak a couple of weekends ago, and it was a crazy, wonderful day. it started out crazy because it was hot here in Florida, and while we waited in line for several hours to get into the building, there were several folks who passed out due to dehydration, heat stroke, or something like that. The organizers of the event were handing out bottled water all day, but it wasn’t enough for some folks. Medics were standing by and were regularly being summoned into the crowd of people as the day wore on. But with metal barriers in place to keep the lines straight, and hundreds of people crowded in to a relatively small space, it was tough for the emergency workers to get access to those who needed them. Frustrations started boiling over every time someone else fell ill, and chants of “Open the door!” would break out on a regular basis. My daughter, who was with me that day, took some video as one of these emergencies was in progress. Her phone is shitty and her hand is shaky, so you can’t see too much (and you might throw up – Francis Ford Coppola she ain’t). But you may get a sense of the weird, slightly scary vibe that was hanging over the crowd for a good portion of the day:
Once we were inside, we had another couple of hours to wait, but at least we had air conditioning, and that helped A LOT. Not to mention the fact that they were playing some great tunes over the PA while we waited. At one point, Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” started up, and the entire crowd started singing along. It was awesome to hear everyone sharing that moment. I didn’t have much juice left in my camera by then so I didn’t film it, but luckily someone else did:
There was a full house that afternoon, and the Palm Beach Convention Center was packed wall to wall. When the action finally got underway, we heard from Senator Bill Nelson, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who is the Chairwoman of the DNC and is from South Florida herself. And then we got to hear from President Barack Obama himself. As expected, he made the wait worthwhile by reminding us what was at stake this November, what he wanted to accomplish in his second term, and what we needed to do to move our country forward. I still don’t know what Florida will end up doing on November 6 – frankly it seems like a toss-up right now. But I can tell you we are doing what we can to help our president. My local OFA office is very active, we are volunteering in whatever way we can, and just yesterday I was out in front of a Wal-Mart for a few hours, helping to register folks to vote and seeing a lot of enthusiasm for the president. I think we have a shot of turning Florida blue again like we did in 2008, but I’m not going to lie – it will be CLOSE.
Seeing President Obama speak just reminded me of why we need him to win so much. And if any further argument was needed, we had Mitt Romney to remind us the other day that there’s about half of our US population he could happily do without. His arrogance, insensitivity, and complete inaccuracy about the way that 47% of us live is appalling to me, as it should be to any reasonable human being. But it’s not as if we didn’t know this about Romney already. Just by watching his appearances on the campaign trail, we can see how filtered his base is, and how many people have been excluded from his focus, despite his desperate damage control efforts where he says he’s for “100% of Americans”. When you go to see President Obama speak, and you look around at the crowd, you really do see 100% of America – some poor, some middle class and some more well off. Some black, some white, some Latino, some from just about every ethnic group you can think of. Men, women, young, old, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist – whatever you are, there is room for you among the Democratic party, and that is something that I love to see, and something that feels so American and so empowering. Bringing people together always takes more time, effort and patience than weeding people out. How easy is it to close a door on someone? But Democrats don’t close doors to Americans, no matter what they earn, what they look like or what they believe. This is why I stand behind our president and hope that he will have 4 more years to work for ALL of us, and not just 53% of us.
I didn’t get too many good pictures that day in Palm Beach – it really was hot, crazy and crowded. But I’ll share what I got that was worth anything (some of these were taken by my kid, so credit where it’s due).