Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I’m not a political person. A lot of politics, in my mind, is like a lot of religion. People pointing, blaming others, trumpeting themselves, and not doing anything substantial. Being hypocritical. I’d like to think that there was a West Wing type political system out there, but that’s pure fantasy. Politicians are changeable in the political winds, no matter how much they might say their not. They are patently untrustworthy. Sorry. That’s my opinion. There are ones that are better at it than others, and I know it is difficult to get things changed in a bureaucracy, but more often than not, I cast my vote for particular candidate with a silent plea, “Just don’t mess things up.”
You won’t see much political content here. Mostly because I don’t see a lot of difference between them, and to get outraged by their various failures does little to actually get things done.
I have great respect for people who actually get things done.
This is not a political blog.
I only went to see Barack Obama yesterday because it was kind of a historic opportunity; he’s an African American candidate, supposedly a great speaker , a charismatic leader. I do like that. I haven’t decided who to vote for yet.
I stood in line for 90 minutes, in the cold, being pushed by the line behind me, trying to shield a 5-year old little boy and his dad from being crushed. In those moments, I had visions of the people years ago at that Michigan game, being crushed against the metal bars at Camp Randall. “Stop pushing!” I yelled back. The line control to get into the Kohl Center was poor. People seemed shocked when told that their bags weren’t allowed in.
We finally got in, and others had saved us some seats. (Thanks!)
The Kohl Center was loud. Music blasted out of the huge speakers. Videos of Obama came on from time to time, talking about his humble roots, his background, his involvement in Chicago, doing public service. Red shirted enthusiasts, probably students, clustered around the stage. Occasionally, a student organizer climbed on the stage and thanked us for coming. And then there was more music, more videos. People started the wave. People made giant O’s above their heads with their arms.
Around 8:30, the camera crews started to show signs of high alert, with coiffed stiff looking men standing in bright lights, clutching microphones.
Governor Doyle came out, and introduced Obama. He said, of all of the great things he gets to do as Governor, this was one of the greatest.
He came out and shook hands for about 2 minutes before climbing the stage. Thank goodness to the overhead video screen, as we were on the second balcony. The man knows how to give a speech. He knows the secret of pausing at the right moment, of weighing his words, of ignoring the chaos in the crowd around him.
One man was escorted from the place for holding a sign that said, “Truth about 9/11” and one that said “WTC 7”. What that means, I don’t know. But it wasn’t welcome.
He spoke of hope. He spoke of his lack of support for the war. He spoke of helping people without insurance get insurance. Of reducing poverty. Of not giving tax breaks to the rich. It was a good speech, and I agreed with a lot of what he was saying. It’s not right that people go hungry or bankrupt because they can’t pay their medical bills. It’s not right that Exxon makes billions while normal people have to budget carefully to make it to work. It’s not right that people have to take out loans of thousands of dollars to go to school. He spoke of hope, and I agree, these are all things that could get changed if there was enough people to push hard to change them. All of these things would make this place a better place. There is great promise in what he was saying. But can he get things done? I want someone who can get things done.
I think he stands a better chance in being elected than Hilary. People, for some reason, hate her. I don’t understand it, but there it is. I think he could do the job. I think he could be an excellent president. If he can get things done.
But was I wowed? No. I’m too old, and too cynical to be wowed anymore. I was merely convinced. And that is all that a political rally tries to do.