Sunday, August 22, 2004
Feet Hurt Bad
Back from the John Edwards rally in Milwaukee. One thing I have now learned: if they want you to volunteer and you say, sure whatever you need, they will make you do crowd control. You will scream things like, "We need to keep the sidewalk clear," repeatedly for 5 hours. You will tell at least 100 people with authority in your voice to go to the wrong entrance. You will not have any water to drink for those 5 hours, and the setting sun will broil you, and 89 year old ladies will faint and fall out of their wheelchairs on your watch.
The upside is that you have a set of credentials hanging around your neck and can pretty much go anywhere, and the cops tell you what's going on and how late Edwards is really running.
But it was all worth it. The big news that swept the crowd was that the Mayor of Milwaukee had shaved off his mustache, but he spoke clearly and briefly about great Democratic themes anyway. Edwards's daughter Kate spoke sweetly and briefly about what a great guy her dad is. And then John Edwards spoke passionately about 2 topics -- that Bush shouldn't hide and has to come out and say himself in his own words that what the Swift Boat liars are saying are lies (the vets roared approval), and a short-version "2 Americas" speech, which he must have given thousands of times now, but it still seems fresh, and it seemed completely new to a lot of people. And the union folks roared. Edwards really does have a genius for this kind of thing. And then he plunged into the crowd as far as his handlers would let him, the part he seems to really enjoy, because he literally glowed. You can't be cynical around this guy, even if it is your nature.
I took a lot of pictures, but one thing about Edwards is that he is always in motion, pacing the stage, spreading arms out, addressing this section, then that section, so many of the pictures ended up blurs. And it always seemed that just when I thought I had a great picture, someone in front of me held up a sign. I'll post a few tomorrow.
I don't have the faintest idea how many people were there or whether the rumored 500 "Bikers for Kerry" ever made it. When you're in the middle of something like this it's very difficult to figure out what's going on. 90 percent of the time you stand in groups at location one, then someone tells you that they're doing a security sweep and so you must move to location two. And then you wait. And wait more. And then you have to move again.
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