My friend Susan was at it again. Monday night, at 11 pm, we were exchanging texts. She was asking me to do something. My first answer was “No.” Then it was “Maybe.” Then it was “I’ll pick you up at 7:30.” As in 7:30 AM. How does she do that?
Yes, she dragged me to Portsmouth to see Hillary and Bernie.
And it was awesome.
What was awesome about it? I guess the energy. It was like being at a playoff game or a Beyonce concert. Everyone was just so excited. The hour and a half we spent in line flew by. And this time I actually made it through the doors (barely).
The whole event was fantastic, but here are a few things that stuck out in my mind.
Sitting to our right, there was a group of high school or college students who were standing, cheering, and waving their signs before the event even started. Susan pointed out one boy who was using his cell phone to take a photo or video. On the back of his cell phone was a picture of Bobby Kennedy. I hope I get the opportunity to vote for that boy one day.
One of the early speakers was NH Governor Maggie Hassan. During her speech, she announced she was running for Senate. It struck me as cool to be hearing someone announce her candidacy in person.
Governor Hassan was followed by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. In general, I’m not really into politics, so I don’t know much about her. But, as she spoke, I grew an immediate liking for her. And when she called out “Absolutely Black lives matter!” without hesitation and loudly in an impromptu response to someone in the audience, I fell a little in love.
Bernie was up next. I was very nervous about what he was going to say, and I’ve had problems with the way he has handled certain things in the past. I think the Bernie supporters were hoping for something shocking from him, and I was a little afraid. But he said the exact words I wanted to hear. And, from my perspective, he said them with conviction and sincerity. I know media reports and people watching on TV felt he was grumpy. That didn’t come across to me from where I was sitting. I had the urge to go up to him, shake his hand, and thank him.
Hillary wrapped up with the final speech. Of course, the whole speech was a highlight for me, but, in particular, she touched upon the shootings – something I’m guessing has been weighing on all of our minds – with these quotes: “We have to begin by starting to listen to each other…. Give law enforcement the support they need while also stopping the tragedy of black men, women, and children being killed in police incidents…. Implicit bias remains a problem across society…. Really search our hearts and minds to make sure we don’t have those implicit biases…. Everyone in every community benefits when we have respect for the law and when everyone is respected by the law.”
And towards the tail end of the speech, when she said “If fighting for equal pay and paid family leave is playing the women card,” I actually joined the crowd in calling out “Deal me in.”
Susan was another highlight for me. It was fun to see her engage with some of the Bernie supporters and others while in line. (I smiled at them.) And it was fun to see her stomp her feet, wave her sign, and join or start the chants while in the auditorium. (I clapped – sometimes vigorously.)
On the way out, we passed by a number of media crews interviewing people. As we walked by each one, we looked to see who they were interviewing. And it dawned on me they were all Bernie supporters. On our way by the fourth or fifth interview, I hit my flash point. I ran up to the reporter, with cameras behind him, and asked him why the media was only interviewing Bernie supporters. We got into it while the camera crew looked on a little amazed and grinning widely.
As we left, Susan muttered, “The one time Michelle speaks up, and it’s on national TV.”
Yesterday, I got a text from my sister Chris. Was I swooning over Hillary?
Yes, I am positively swooning over Hillary.