Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I heard Hillary Clinton speak last night!

From my car. While in the parking lot of a high school. But, she was actually at that high school, in person.

Let me explain. On Monday night I (and thousands of others) received an email from the Clinton campaign* inviting us to a “town-hall style” event in Laveen, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. It was to be held at a local high school and we were told to arrive by 7 pm. When I got out of class (not until nearly 5; though this was only the first class of a course that is scheduled to go to 6 pm on Tuesdays), I ran to my car and immediately started driving at undoubtedly unsafe speeds to make it in time. I would say my average speed on the highway was around 85. (I know that sounds entirely too high, but the speed limit itself was 75.) It was very stressful, weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds. All to see a politician who I am not supporting.

Anyway, I arrived in the general area by 6:58. I knew I would be a little late, but I figured they would let me in. And, they probably would have. But I simply could not find the school, and my directions were dead useless. The combination of my navigatorial incompetence, the city's incomprehensible layout***, and google maps' failure to understand that layout resulted in me pulled over to the side of the road, frustrated nearly to tears. Finally I called lovely, lovely Jason, who, after a while, helped me to figure it out.

By the time I made it to where I was supposed to go, it was past 8. It was instantly apparent that this was not a “town-hall style” meeting. This place was packed, overflowing. There was no place to park, not even to park illegally. I heard Clinton's voice booming over a loudspeaker. Town hall events typically do not involve the sort of audio equipment that was clearly involved in this rally. I felt better. I would have been disappointed if I had lost an opportunity to as my question****, but it was clear that such an opportunity had never existed.

The highlight of the evening was the inevitable throng of Ron Paul supporters, who congregated, with their signs and shouts, at all entrances and along the roadway of the high school. But I can see them in Tucson any old day.

All in all, it was a supreme waste of both time and gas money. Perhaps the only benefit is that it spurred me to write this blog post, which is my first in nearly a month. And that's something, right? Perhaps not as cool as hearing Hillary Clinton speak might have been.

* Yes, I know, being on the Clinton mailing list and going to Clinton events may lead the average observer to suspect that I am voting for Clinton. I have no intention of doing so**.

**I am actually going to either vote for Ron Paul (for the fun of it) or Mitt Romney (for the strategy of it) in the Republican party in Texas. I support Barack Obama, but will of course vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election if she is the nominee.

***Some of my critics and naysayers (you know who you are) will put much more weight on my directional cluelessness than on the problematic street layout. But trust me, it was crazy. I pulled into one place that looked promisingly like a school, where I encountered a security guard. He had me pull over and asked, “Are you looking for the school?” I was immediately grateful to have been pulled over, thinking that he would provide directions, but he only informed me that 1) many other people had been just as lost as me, and 2) he did not, in fact, know where the school was. The fact that other people were just as lost as I speaks to the actual ridiculousness of the streets.

****Oh, and it was a good question. I carefully thought it out. I picked a softball that I knew she had an answer to, but the answer would still be interesting. I figured the only way I could get to ask a question would be to have a softball because surely the staffers would screen the questions. But at the sort of event that this had turned out to be, the only way to ask a question would have been to overpower several security guards and secret service officers in order to steal the microphone away from the senator. Back when I thought it would be a real town-hall kinda thing, I had this fantasy that I would ask a question to which Clinton's response would be so interesting (in a good or a bad way) that it would get all sorts of media play; it would even influence peoples' votes. I would have substantially affected the course of American politics. Perhaps I could have even made her cry, since the media seem so interested in that.

1 comment:

a very public sociologist said...

I'm no Clinton supporter, but I'd go and see her in the unlikely event of her wanting to chase votes here at Keele University. I'd prob gone and seen Bush in 2004 if he'd come too ;)