Monday, March 31, 2008

About participation

So, Indiana being the new Iowa, or maybe Florida (it being spring break, and half the state repairing to Ft. Myers, our ersatz sister city), we settle into being the epicenter of political activity.
We see articles in Newsweek like this one, calling May 6 "The New Super Tuesday."
We see the Democratic candidates opening offices all around the state, even in Ft. Wayne.
We see Chelsea Clinton being asked personal questions at Indiana college campuses.
And best of all, we see political candidates actually visiting our city. There she is, right in the parking lot of Sara's Family and Friends Restaurant in the Village at Coventry shopping center, a place where I myself have eaten pancakes (albeit not the company of politicians).
Perhaps you have remembered I have declared myself a
political tourist, showing extreme willingness to attend functions of any political ilk.
So far, that's meant seeing two Clintons in two weeks, and doing some suffering to see both.
For the former president, it meant standing in line in a light rain for the better part of an hour, then standing in a hot room for another hour and a half.
For his spouse, it meant standing in said parking lot for over an hour in a chilly wind and again, standing up.
In other words: during these functions, I'm either hot, or cold; perhaps damp; always hungry; back aching; having to go to the restroom; and and bored with the waiting. Although not too bored--for I have discovered there is lots of entertainment at political functions. Signage of all kinds, buttons as well; people old and young; media everywhere; a sense of anticipation over all.
But how often do we get to observe politics in action, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana? It's worth the sacrifice.
I'm extremely hopeful that Barak Obama is going to have a big do sometime before May 6; and I'm REALLY hopeful John McCain will come to town, so I can re-establish myself in the eyes of all my conservative friends as an independent voter, for many of them now, I fear, worry for my soul, having attended two Clinton gatherings in two weeks. At least Ron Paul--he hasn't dropped out yet, has he?
Now, answer me this: if you come to the function, walk right by the roped-off area, and go into the Applebee's next door, snagging the corner booth with the windows, from which you have a bird's eye view of the proceedings--can you be said to have "attended the Hillary Clinton rally"? I don't think so, and I told my family members who did just that, that they cannot tell people "I was there," although, of course, they kind of were. But they didn't suffer.
We did ... but we true participants also surely appreciated that table, after Hillary had given her five-minute speech to we hardy souls in the parking lot at Sara's, and then we ran over to Applebee's to warm up, have a beverage, eat some dinner, and watch out the windows as the roundtable continued on the TV above us.
I can only take so much participation, and then I need a mojito.
Well, how about you? Are you participating?

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