This by no means is intended to be a political rant blog. Nor do I feel I have anything relevant to say about politics, the government, or the Presidential candidates that hasn’t already been said. Like 51% of all Americans, I’m not sure what to believe or how to vote, so when I put #36 on my bucket list (Attend a Presidential rally of some sort) it was not so I could be easily swayed by a charismatic and charming politician. It was put on the list with the intent that I would experience a subculture of America I’ve never really experienced – the Political Enthusiasts. Those intensely passionate persons who drop money, wave signs, chant, holler and even have the balls to show up and heckle the opponent. And what better time to jump in and do this than during an election year?
At first, I naively thought this would be somewhat easy. To start, I did not limit myself to attending a rally for ONLY my preferred candidate. Second, I watch the news every night and regularly read the paper alongside cnn.com, so surely they would announce when and where the candidates would make an appearance. All I need to do is pay attention!
I figured this out shortly after the news first reported that Romney made a visit to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield. What! My hometown and my Dad didn’t even know about it nor called to tell me Romney was there. “Dannah,” he says to me after the fact, “I think every Presidential Candidate has made a stop at Jelly Belly during election year.” What the hell? “Well, who doesn’t like Jelly Bellies?” is his reply. Travesty!
THEN I hear on the news that Ron Paul gave a free speech at UC Berkeley. What! My younger brother would die for Ron Paul [ not lying- he’s a new kind of crazy: click here ] and he didn’t even know about it nor called to tell me Ron Paul was there. “Dannah,” he says to me after the fact, “Just get on some of the mailing lists.” What the hell? “Well, I didn’t know you wanted to see him.” Is his reply. Ugh. And I believed the sole purpose of having a younger brother was to have him help me out.
So, I get on the mailing lists. And just to add another nail to the coffin, I pitch in the desperately needed $5 to each campaign in order to enter a chance to win a lunch, a coffee or an extravagant dinner with one of these guys. Did it help? Well, I have about 3 more weeks before I can answer that question, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. But, what it DID do is enter me in to the email pool and now my phone beeps several times a day alerting me to the latest campaign updates- which are usually just pleas for more money. Hell no. And don’t think I believe it’s Obama or Romney actually writing those emails either. Puh-lease! And to answer that other question- no, none of these emails alerted me to when either candidate would be around.
I had to try harder. I started calling local campaign headquarters. Amazingly (yes, I was indeed shocked), most of the time the people working the phones didn’t know anything. “What’s that? Obama is going to be where?” or “Oh, sweetheart, we never know when or if Romney is coming here.” I called as far as Reno, thinking I’d make the sacrifice if need be. How can you be on the “frontlines” of the grassroots efforts and have to be schooled by me with telling you Obama was going to be in SF on October 8th?
When I finally did catch wind of this Obama Appearance, It took nearly an entire morning of phone calls and emails to track down when, where, how much and how to buy a ticket. But it happened, finally, and I also managed to find a friend who has been just as entirely ENTHUSIASTIC about this trip as I am.
Lindsey was telling me in the car ride over to SF that more and more lately, she’s just been saying “yes!” to all the different opportunities that come up, and how fun and exciting life seems to become when you have that kind of mentality. I couldn’t agree more! It’s a big part of inspiration for this Bucket List of mine, and I have to say most of my more ridiculously hilarious moments in life, or my best stories, are when I spontaneously just said “yes!”
The Stars were aligned for us this Monday night. From traffic, to directions, parking, will-call tickets, dinner, the line to get inside, and the front row spots. Everything worked in our favor and everything went smooth. Something I can never say really happens when traveling to SF for any kind of outing.
So, the rally itself was everything I expected it to be. It started with a performance by Michael Franti and then John Legend. There were some guest speakers, followed by a very rousing entry by Obama. But after that, I kind of lost interest. Sure, it was exciting to see the President in person. No matter who you are I think it would be a thrill. But, I am disappointed (in myself more than anything) that the speech he gave was nothing more than what I had already heard in his recent debate, and basically in every news story in recent weeks. For some reason, I stupidly thought that he would tailor his speech to be original and funny and inspiring for me, the White Female Californian. Not the case, obviously. He simply repeated his case about more jobs, less taxes, more opportunities to live the American Dream.
But, it is what it is. And I can officially mark this one of my list! Thank you Lindsey for joining me!