With the ticking clock leading to the presidential election this November, there has never been a better or more urgently felt opportunity (at least in my lifetime) to become involved in the political process.  This election represents two very starkly contrasted ideologies, polar opposites, really.

Politics forum regular (and self-confessed Independent, neither Republican nor Democrat) ElCapitanAmerica did most of us one better and attended an Obama event with none other than Hillary Clinton.  So impressed was I by his lucid, thoughtful (and illustrated!) post about the event, that I asked if he would let me put it on my CHUD blog.  He graciously agreed!

Herewith, without further ado…


(*not literally, of course…)

(flickr set for this event)

Clinton was campaigning for Obama yesterday in FL, and I had the fortune
of attending her Tampa stop. If you are signed up to the Obama
campaign’s website they have this very nice system that figures out
events close to you by zip code (McCain’s web campaign doesn’t seem
able to do this).

This is my second US presidential related political rally, my first one
was a few months ago for Obama. The setting here of course was smaller,
this was at a local gym/recreation center. Still, the event was very
well attended and had a very animated crowd.

The ceremony started with a prayer from a female Unitarian minister,
who gave the most new agey prayer I can remember. I wasn’t offended by
it, but I was thinking of CHUD atheists and how they would have reacted
to it. I was also thinking how to me a Jewish or even Muslim prayer
would have seemed more of a safe bet than this, however, no big deal.
After this we recited the pledge of allegiance, and had this
awkward visual moment I note on my Flickr set.

After a couple of introductions from local female politicians, Hillary
came out with another lady that was to introduce her. The introduction
was a bit long for some people, and a few idiots started screaming “We
want to hear from Hillary!” I was kind of upset by this, imagine you
are some local figure and you are trying not to mess up in front of all
these people and such a famous senator, and you have a few idiots
pretty much screaming at you to shut up. To Hillary’s credit, she
laughed it off and I noticed her tapping this lady’s back, and
whispering that is was OK. Nice touch from an experienced public

Hillary was really in her element, very animated and seeming to enjoy
the enthusiasm from the crowd. During the primaries, I felt that she
would come off a bit award during her stump speeches, but that might
have been my bias because I wanted Obama to win instead. I think she
did very well here, and kept the crowds excited the whole time.

In contrast to the Republicans, Hillary was very focused on going over
the real world issues of the mortgage crisis, people with no
healthcare, and job offshoring. The part that was really effective to
me was when she asked whose fault is it for the past 8 years of general
economic decline, the crowd answered “Bush” and she corrected them by
saying that no, the real problem is the Republican party as a whole.

Inevitably, somebody screamed “What about Palin?” to which she replied
“That’s not really the issue …” and was quick to change the subject.
I was very curious to see if she would talk about Palin, but it seems
the Hillary camp has made a clear decision to stay away from that. Her
only direct Palin reference was her “No way, no McCain, no Palin” but
that’s it.

In the end, I was able to shake Hillary’s hand. I didn’t know what
to say so I just said a generic “Thanks Hillary!”  My wife was
disappointed I didn’t come up with something more clever. Perhaps next
time I can have a sign with my chud handle or one that says “chud.com.”

As I headed back to my care a volunteer stopped me to ask if I wanted
to help with some of my time. I told him I was an independent, and
wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable campaigning for a party I don’t
belong to, he told me about non-partisan organizations that do voter
registration I could attend. This made me think about the limitations
of my “independent” label, and that I felt a bit embarrassed to not help
at all. Perhaps not belonging to a party is not such a great idea after
all …

(yes, that’s my geeky self)

More pics here: http://flickr.com/photos/30341999@N0…7607192859061/