I hesitate to write this post, for several reasons. Namely, I don’t really want anyone who currently checks out my blog to no longer do so, based on the fact it’s about a political event. So before I get into the meat of it, let me explain (ok, pander) on a couple things…
shhhhhhh…I’m not supposed to say this in public but I have a confession: I attended a political rally.
- I’m essentially a libertarian when it comes to most issues. Most of you know that. Some of you don’t.
- I love arguing. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Now, I don’t say “debating”, because I’m a fairly loud guy so it usually sounds more like arguing.
- I am skeptical of politicians, but enjoy the nature of politics, namely ideas and the pursuit of them.
- I have lots of liberal friends. I usually disagree with them.
- I have lots of conservative friends. I sometimes disagree with them.
- Usually I agree with 100% of them about at least one thing.
- Drinking a beer is the most fun way to discuss/debate/argue politics.
- I think I have a pretty objective view on the whole political landscape.
So that being said, I live in Colorado, and lately, it’s become a state with a very unfortunate label attached to it. A label that strikes fear in the heart of its citizens: It’s now a “SWING STATE”. Which means that our airwaves are crushed with political ads from both sides, Obama trashing Romney, Romney trashing Obama, Super PAC’s trashing everyone etc. So at the first of the year, I decided that I wanted to attend a rally for each political party. Since I do have some libertarian views, my first one was earlier this year, and it was for Ron Paul. I didn’t blog about it simply because I got busy and forgot. It was wacky to say the least! Now the other day I attended the rally for Paul Ryan, the VP pick for the Republicans. He was in town right after being selected, so I thought I would take the opportunity to go. Finally, I’m hoping to attend an Obama rally when he comes here. (See, as a “swing” state, we get lots of opportunities to attend since they are all here so often)
I really wanted to go to observe how people are at these things. I definitely saw some interesting characters at the Ron Paul Rally a few months ago, and I will admit that I really just wanted to see
crazy interesting people. I will give you some details about what I saw if you have never been to an event from either party.
Anyway, I went to the event. It was at Lakewood High School, across town from where I live. I looked online to see if you had to secure tickets or just show up. There was a ticket option available, which was nice, so I could just have them scan my iPhone to get in, as the ticket had a QR Code on it. Luckily, this is exactly how it was. It was nice to not have to waste paper.
There were lots of people there, several thousand filling the gym, and there was an overflow area with apparently another few thousand spots. The gym was packed full, not sure of the overflow. Ryan definitely had youthful energy as he came on and spoke for a few minutes. What I was more interested in though, was the observations I had throughout, and I would assume hold true for both parties’ events. Here’s what I saw:
- Older people talk loud. Really loud. I’m taking the obvious here, that they can’t hear well. Or maybe it’s just Republican elderly. It makes me scared to think how loud I am going to be, since I already have an elevated tone!
- Volunteers: really a broad spectrum of young and old people. It’s surprising how both sides really draw age ranges from 18-85.
- For a national event like following a campaign, the news media always has some hot broadcasters in attendance to report on the events.
- Never mind, the hot broadcaster just wiped her runny nose on her open palm. Twice. And then rubbed it on her other hand and her leg. Get a tissue girl! Hmmm, on second thought she just seems to look fairly average.
- Really bad music is played at these events. By bad music, I mean lots of music that’s not my personal taste. For the GOP, it’s usually lots of country artists or 80′s hair bands, since lots of more recent rock bands or the older 60′s rockers lean left and don’t want their music being played (See: Silversun Pickups) at a conservative event. There’s always the opportunity for the ever-present (and personally I find annoying) “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. It’s just such a cheesy song.
- Speaking of rock bands, political rallies are a lot like going to a rock show. You usually want to avoid the opening acts, most of the crowd is waiting for the headliner. Same thing applies at political rallies. There’s always a few opening speeches, which are typically just boring “I support this person” kind of stuff. Get to the main event already. I don’t need to see your hype man!
- National campaigns must have huge budgets for American Flags. Seriously. Always tons of flags to prove they are so American!
- Old people use cameras to snap pictures. Young people use their cellphones.
- Public speaking is HARD. Ryan goes for a big applause line and flubs it. You can tell he is annoyed he messed it up. Otherwise he did pretty well.
- People are in a good mood at these things. They aren’t angry, they are chatty and excited and want to be apart of something bigger.
I suspect that when I attend Obama’s it will be much of the same on all these fronts. Now as much as I am a cynic, I find myself entertained by these types of events. Point 10 seems to ring true. Americans want to get along, be positive, etc. I think though, that we have forgotten exactly how to do that to some extent. Maybe its the screaming pundits on 24 hour news battling each other, maybe it was the 2000 election, maybe it’s the cynical nature of our society these days. The more technology connects us, the less we like each other? I hope this isn’t the case.
All in all, it was worth it to go and see what kind of people are interested in politics. I recommend that regardless of your political affiliation, you go see what the candidate of your choice has to offer. I think then more people might have honest discussions about what to do with our country. Then who knows? Maybe both sides will actually start to agree on a more regular basis. Of course, that’s the hope of an optimist, not a cynic.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…whether you are on my side of the political aisle, or the other. Would you attend a political rally? Do you think we can as a society have a more civilized discourse on the issues affecting our future? (please, no specific policy debates here, that’s not what this was about).
(This blog was brought to you by the band Radiohead and their album “Ok Computer”. Because I really feel like a leftist band from England was the best representation of music I had who really wouldn’t want their songs played at a Romney/Ryan rally. Or maybe just cause I really love that album.)