Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Today's Event: Kerry in Madison

Well, my faithful few, I had hoped to post pictures of a photo-op with Senator Kerry today, but due to rain the photo-op was canceled.

You see, I volunteered to help with the event in Madison that was held today. A couple days after I volunteered, I got a call from the campus chair asking me to drive one of the cars in the Senator's motorcade. I thought, "how cool!" and said yes.

Unfortunately, that basically entails driving around in a rental van all day long, which isn't so bad, and missing class, which isn't so bad, and missing the event, which was mildly bad. The event was broadcast on local radio, though, so I still got to hear it.

We showed up at the airport and got screened by the Secret Service, who were much more polite than I expected, having read about all the mean things Secret Service agents allegedly do at Bush events. The inspection was surprisingly gentle, just a metal detector wand and a bomb sniffing dog. We did not, for instance, have to subject our personal bags to searches, which would seem to be a glaring hole in the security, except that of course we were all campaign volunteers.

We watched the Senator's plane come rolling in on the tarmac, and we even caught a glimpse of him as he deplaned. Then we mounted up, so to speak, and drove to the event. Driving in a Secret Service motorcade is exciting, even though it didn't go as fast as we had hoped. We drove down highway 51 and the Beltline, two of the busiest highways in Madison, on our way to the venue, and police cordoned off all traffic, which was pretty cool for us, not so much for the people in the traffic.

The speech was good, even if he did use (only once!) that abominable "W stands for wrong" line that he has been using. Whoever wrote that atrocious piece of crap should be beaten and then fired. Also, as is his custom, he slipped some local flavor in the beginning of the speech. Of course, he referred to "State Street Brats" (a famous college hangout) as "Main Street Brats." Nevertheless, he had me at "beer on the Union terrace." Mmm. Aside from that, he basically hammered on the holy triumvirate, Iraq, the economy, and health care (it's a right! he said). Also, he continued to talk about "wrong choices" and "wrong direction" without sinking back to "W stands for wrong" again.

After we motorcaded back to the airport (is "motorcaded" a permissible verb?), we had a chance to shake hands and say a few words to the Senator. Shy as I am, I'm amazed I even made eye contact, and I was even able to thank him for coming to Madison. So many clever things that I thought I would like to say, so little nerve to say them.


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