Monday, October 20, 2008

My first political rally

Oh man. The political rally in Roswell, New Mexico, was great. I will say Sarah was an hour late! She was supposed to be there at 2:30 and got there at 3:30. I'm suspicious we were duped. Did they know from the git-go she would arrive at 3:30pm? Because we barely got there (early even) at 12:30pm and as soon as we got inside we heard scuttlebutt that she'd be there at 3:30pm.

My husband thought it was a four hour drive but it was a little less. So we parked easily, bought buttons, and got in line.

Ten thousand people went through this gate. That's 10,003 including us. It's like the airport. They inspected my camera bag, thoroughly, and went through our lunch bag and took away our water and gave us their water. We weren't allowed to take our water inside. Umbrellas not allowed. They would have been handy because everyone was in the sun except for TV cameras and professional photogs and some select people in a measly few bleachers opposite the TV cameras.

Once inside we stood in the shady part but then some bouncer types came and said we needed to make way for a corridor. One bouncer man was putting his elbow into my back which I thought was not very nice so my husband said c'mon and we moved out into the sun.

There was loud music, rock and roll, my favorite, so I was loving it. My husband and son, not so much. Youngest son prefers classical and husband likes disco, ewwww. When we first got out there I jumped all around! I was so excited. Then I thought, I better conserve energy. Good thinking. We ended up standing for three hours. Like, I mean, standing. In one place. I sat down for a little while because a lady beside me did, and I chitchatted with her but I was surround by butts and it wasn't even shady down there so I got up. A guy, Hank Williams Jr., apparently his dad is or was famous, sang country western for a bit and it wasn't very good. His godmother was June Carter Cash. Okay.

Then we waited more and listened to some political speeches by some local peeps, and then more rock and roll. Everyone was sweating. Then people started fainting. We were in the 80 degree sunshine on pavement for goodness sakes and in a crowd so hardly any air was circulating. A girl right next to me began to shake and I think that's a beginning sign of sunstroke. She left. Another lady, we made a wide space for her, and she sat on the pavement and people fanned her for a good 20 minutes then left. Another person was helped out of the crowd, and another one left on a stretcher. I was just praying I would continue sweating and not be one of those fainters. If we traveled all that way and I had to leave I would have been truly depressed. I diligently drank water every few minutes. My mouth was so dry. My husband said he was surprised how much I drank. And I was sweating so much. See, as long as my skin wasn't dry I knew I was okay. Rally organizers periodically squished into the crowds and asked who wanted water and everyone would pass free water bottles in a line along to whomever needed it.

Next, the security people did a lot of brisk walking and radio talking up and down the walkway. Let's say it. I'm a sucker for a man in uniform!

The greatest thing I missed on my little movie camera was the Pledge of Allegiance. I didn't know it was coming up. Have you ever said the Pledge along with 10,000 people? It was a complete rush. It was better than any drug I've ever taken. I felt the voices in my body and in my mind. I was stifling the tears. It was a top ten moment of my lifetime.

I taped a few seconds of the Star Spangled Banner which was cool too, but it was not as incredible as saying the Pledge. No one led the Pledge. It was just everyone saying it together. The flag inside the airplane hangar was waving directly over my head.

Then came Sarah's speech.

Whoops. That's Sarah when she got off the plane and was walking to the stage. Can you feel my pain of being so close and yet, so far! None of my pics of her on stage are blog worthy. Do you have any idear what I went through to get the piddly pictures I have? I'm short. I could hardly see. And I can't tell you how many men stood in my way. I won't even mention the woman with a gigantic, urban sombrero, wide brimmed hat with a bow on it. And there was a guy who kept shifting his weight so no matter which side I chose he'd get in my frame the next minute. Or I'd start shooting and someone would put their camera right, exactly, in front of my camera. They didn't know I was behind them so it wasn't their fault, it's just part and parcel of trying to get a photo while 10,000 other people are trying to get the very same photo.

Afterwards, the esteemed Republicans left their water bottles all over the ground. The trash cans were way overflowing. Poor planning. There really should have been a dumpster.

I made a short collage of the video I took. Nuthin' fancy, but you get a feel from it. It's hard to both tape and photograph and have fun. I did a lot of hollering and jumping and when I did that my camera was off. Really, to make a good video you'd need to tape the entire thing then cut out what you don't want. What happened was every time she said something that made the crowd go wild I'd jump and shout, and then turn on my camera for the next part. Haha! So the best memories are all in my head.

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