Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Trip Across Town...To See Obama

I will resume the Antwerp recap shortly, but first I must share tomorrow's exciting itinerary. I am going to the James Madison University Convocation Center (aka the basketball arena, cap. 7600) to see the next President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama! My college students have been so excited about this election, actually asking me to delay the start of class to help one another register to vote, and all they could talk about this morning was how or whether they would be able to see Obama tomorrow afternoon.

Everyone kind of wants to know Why Is He Coming Here??? Well, from what I understand, Harrisonburg is apparently the swing area of the swing district (Shenandoah Valley) of this swing state, and boy have we gotten attention this time around! We have an Obama office just a couple of blocks away, and for the first time in my life, I've now worked on a political campaign, making calls several hours a week to talk with voters about their thoughts. It has been really interesting to talk with so many people I might otherwise never meet, even when we don't agree. This area has changed so much in the last 20 years, and you just can't make assumptions anymore about the likelihood that a person of a certain age from a particular zip code is or is not going to support McCain or Obama. I also learned that it doesn't bother me that much to be hung up on. Comes with the territory, I guess.

Anyway, on Sunday, I took JieJie the Princess and MeiMei the Tiger to a costume party at a neighbor's, and then walked over to another neighbor's to deliver pumpkins for the pumpkin carving party planned for last night. On the way, I bumped into our friend Joe, who was canvassing in the neighborhood. He introduced me to his canvassing partner, Former Secretary of the US Navy, John Dalton!!!! I mean you have to understand, things like this don't happen in Harrisonburg. Usually we get ignored, or there's some candidate who stops into the photogenic L&S Diner for a quick meet and greet, and we see it on our (sorry) lame local news channel that night. But this time our looking-suddenly-less-lame local tv station is broadcasting Obama's speech for those unlucky enough not to get in to see him.

I'm so torn about whether to get the girls out of school early and wait out in the cold to be a part of history or not. If I don't get them from school early, I'll be picking them up right when the doors open, and will almost certainly not get in. John mentioned something about picking up the girls and bringing them to me...if the weather's ok, that could work.

Regardless, though, I am definitely going to go over to the Convo tomorrow just to see the whole scene...the media...the lines of students and community members...the protester...

Anyway, if I get any good photos, I'll try to post them (regular readers are now saying Yeah, Right). Wish me luck on getting in, preferably with the girls in tow, for what promises to be a historic day in our little burg!


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