Friday, October 01, 2004

tacos, 90 minutes in line, and a kerry rebound

Tons of words have and will be written and spoken about the first debate, so no need to rehash things here. The story is the event at the Miami Arena, a debate watch party followed by a rally featuring the Johns, Kerry and Mellencamp along with Teresa, a Kerry daughter, and Babyface.

Let's forget the potentially troubling symbolism of Kerry's campaign holding a rally at a "white elephant" building that is doomed to be demolished after having been left orphaned by the rich people that wanted it built for their sports teams. The rally itself was a success, some minor glitches aside.

Having scored the pink tickets that got us to the floor (though nobody was checking so it didn't matter), the four of us (Eric, Lynn, Brian and me {started the night by meeting Eric and Lynn for tacos at this great hole-in-the-wall taqueria on Calle Ocho at 5th}) got in a line that wasn't moving. This being Miami, it should be no surprise that the rally stated out with a major screw up, this screw-up being that the doors didn't open until about 8:45. This means that we didn't get in until about 9:30 or so. Yes, I understand that given Kerry's appearance there needed to be strict security. But seriously, WTF? Get your shit together and make sure the event goes as planned? Why can't anything in this town go unclusterfucked?

Anyway, we get in and grab seats, watch the debate. Again, the content of the debate isn't worth rehashing here. Kerry kicked ass, Bush looked like a petulant brat. What was great about watching this in the company of a few thousand other folks was that finally I got a sense of community in my politics. When Bush responded to Lehrer's question about the justification for pre-emptive war by saying "the enemy attacked", *everyone* in the building gasped and I just knew we were all thinking the same thing..."SAY IT!!" The guys in front of us said "say it", I said it...all of us wanted Kerry to come back with "Iraq didn't attack us on 9/11". He did and the place went wild. There were a few other moments like that, but that one was the strongest. It was union folks, college students, regular people...people who've been left behind and ignored, making their voices heard together.

About 20 minutes later, John Mellencamp and his band played a short acoustic set. They played what you'd expect...."Small Town", "Pink Houses", "Rain on the Scarecrow" and "Paper and Fire". Babyface joined him for one song, forget which one.

A little while later out comes Kerry, along with his wife and one of the daughters. We had moved to the floor right after the debate ended, and were right along the runway to the podium. Kerry came out and stayed mainly to our side, and I got a brief handshake.

So the crowd is going crazy as the Kerrys came in. Teresa, who looks kinda scary up close, proceeds to just about suck all the energy out of the room by trying to quiet us down, not speaking for a long stretch, then asking for quiet...seriously's a POLITICAL RALLY! You have a pumped up crowd, don't sush it.

Finally she introduces John and he gives the bullet-points of the stump speech, brings Mellencamp and Babyface out again (from the phone cam...why oh why did I not bring my camera? dumb, dumb, dumb) and calls it a night. Again, a good evening overall.

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