The President was in our area today. We had plans to see him speak. J had class at the Nature Center in the afternoon and then we had plans to go to the rally. After all, how hard could it be to get in?
All seemed to be going well when we first arrived. We made it near the Library Mall in decent time with three children in tow. One in the sling and two little ones walking since you weren’t allowed to bring a stroller in. The line seemed to go on and on. It wasn’t until we reached this point in our journey that I looked out over the line that continued beyond where I could see…
…that I knew we wouldn’t be getting into the rally. I suppose in my heart I should have known before we walked just about a mile to find the end of the line that we wouldn’t be getting in. As I stood there at the corner of Linden and Charter Street it was easy to see we weren’t the only ones questioning if it was worth it to wait in line. By the time most of my fellow travelers reached this point their mouths just about dropped open while they exclaimed, “Oh my! This isn’t the end of the line!”
I had a few nice chats with fellow line watchers as they decided whether or not to continue on. My husband made it all the way to Bascom Hall with our two older children. L was struggling to keep up and expressing her displeasure for having to continue walking even though she was very excited about seeing the “Presdent.” A few friendly line dwellers motioned for my husband to join them in the line, “I don’t think it’s likely that any of us will get in today,” their explanation.
We briefly tried staking out a space in the lawn on Bascom Hill, but with only the side of the building to look at and a set of speakers playing the audio my husband and I could tell that this was not going to go well. If we had known this was where we would end up we probably would have skipped trying to get in. Maybe we could have packed a picnic dinner, brought the stroller for the Boo, and made a grand evening of it. As it was the kids were tired, we were in need of a snack, and looking at the side of the building.
It’s odd to me how news folks portray the rally. The WSJ and several other organizations continually mentioning the “young vote” and a rally of “students.” Fox began the morning with a story about how they were having a hard time getting people to come to the rally. The thing of it was? None of that lined up with my experience. Perhaps the majority of people who actually made it on the Mall were students (they were probably the only ones capable of waiting in line all day), but from where I sat both in the line and on the hill the crowd around me was far more diverse than most competing rallies either in Washington or my very own city. Young and old alike traveled to Madison today. Both young and old waited in line. Both young and old resigned themselves to siting outside on a hill, looking at a building (sure would have been nice to have had a video screen or two), and listened. We shared the dream of change. The hope of a better tomorrow. A better world for our children. My children.
We took our cue like any good parents and left before having the chance to hear the President. My two year old daughter looked at me, disappointment in her big brown eyes and said, “But Mommy, I wanna see the Presdent.” Me too. We headed towards Jamba Juice for a quick snack quite a bit slower this time. L repeating several times in the walk there and on the way home in the car, “But Mommy, I wanna see the Presdent.” Not even seeing his motorcade on our way back to the car was enough to satisfy her. We had told her we were going to see the President and didn’t deliver. It made me a bit sad to disappoint her.
Not even pockets stuffed full of acorn caps was enough to assuage her. We promised her that we’d try again the next time President Obama was in town which helped as did promises of watching him on the “puter.”
My kids went to bed quickly when we got home tonight. It has been such a big day. They sleep tonight safe and warm with full bellies thanks to my husband’s solidly middle class union job. The same kind of job that kept me safe and warm when I was growing up. My Dad and others like him had the kinds of jobs that made the middle class. As much as I’d like to believe that you are more than what your parents were, I have to admit if we continue as we are in this nation it’s possible that for my children the picture will be a bit more bleak. I worry about college. I worry about being able to help them out when they first start their own family. I worry and hope that maybe things will change. Maybe we’ll collectively grow up and get the job done – compromise like adults should and admit that while the solutions we seek will be imperfect they are still our best shot at a better way forward.
You may disagree with my assessment of our country and I respect that. It’s your right to do so. Seeing as neither of us is Hitler maybe we can move past our disagreements and work together. Isn’t that what this is all supposed to be about?