Thursday, my granddaughter and I attended another political rally. This time, in downtown Cleveland, and the speaker was Bill Clinton! There’s no doubt the Clinton’s are star power. It was a very cold day and we were fortunate to be rescued from a long line and escorted to the handicapped area, where we were given a front row seat, practically on top of the podium. We waited a long time for the arrival of Clinton, but were entertained by an excellent band, and many speeches by union leaders who had organized this event. One union leader caught our attention with his humorous allusion to Senator McCain and the present administration being more interested in the welfare of Smith Barney than in the welfare of Mr. Barney Smith. Union leaders, not only from Ohio but from Pennsylvania and other surrounding areas, spoke in strong support of Barack Obama. There was also a large representation of union workers in the huge, enthusiastic crowd, including many women. So it would appear that Senator Obama will have the support of the working class who so strongly supported Hillary Clinton in the primary election. This should be a large block of voters. Again, I wondered if there were any independent or undecided voters in the crowd.
As I looked around, I was struck once more by the beauty of this part of downtown Cleveland, my former home town. We gathered on the Mall above Jacob’s Field, surrounded on one side by the impressive towers of our city’s skyscrapers and on the other side by Lake Erie. What a beautiful venue for this rally! Why don’t more Clevelanders get out of the suburbs and come downtown more often? If you’ve never visited Cleveland, you must put it on your list of places to see!
It was hard to imagine that this once great city was now in such economic decline, mainly because of the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the loss of revenue that goes to the city’s many suburbs. The mayor addressed this issue and inspired the crowd to revitalize the city by concentrating on Barack Obama’s new energy policies which could supply thousands of new jobs for Cleveland’s workers.
When Bill Clinton arrived, the crowd went wild. He hasn’t lost his appeal. He definitely has a presence and is a speaker of unmatched eloquence. He immediately endeared himself to Clevelanders by first commenting on our Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He said that is how he would have spent his life if only he had more talent. He also noticed our token windmill and said he hoped our plan to build more out in the lake would become a reality. His support of Barack Obama was tremendous, stating that this is one of the most important elections in history, so we mustn’t be complacent at this point. Just like Joe Biden, he urged us to get out there and canvass, particularly those undecided voters wherever they are. I was struck by something he said regarding Senator Obama’s reaction to our financial crises which struck so suddenly. Clinton mentioned that there was a period of silence from Obama immediately following the collapse of our financial markets. Instead of jumping in without knowledge, he had taken time out to consult with all the best financial advisers he knew and he called Bill Clinton and had the courage to say, “Bill, what happened?” He wanted to confer with all of the best minds on the subject before making a decision that would be the best one for the country, not just the best one for him politically. Bill Clinton said that was a defining moment for him. He knew then beyond all doubt that the country would be in good hands with Barack Obama. It takes a courageous and intelligent man to seek help in areas he’s not sure about. This aspect of Barack Obama impressed me, also. I have noticed through the years that truly intelligent men and women ask questions and listen to opinions other than their own. They carefully weigh all options before making a decision. This is the kind of man I want as my president at this particular time in our history.
I was impressed with Bill Clinton’s charm and his intelligence. He is not only charismatic, he is well-read and extremely smart. I know many of you cannot forgive him for his unfortunate past actions with regard to his marriage, but I think an awful lot of people, myself included, have forgiven him. No one has forgotten the event, but they have forgiven it. Again, I repeat, seeing a future, or a former presidential candidate in person is an unforgettable experience and one I am grateful to have had at my great age. When he left the podium and came down the steps he walked right up and shook my hand. And just like a teen-age groupie, I was thrilled. Believe me, he still has it! He can really work a crowd and they loved him. He spoke to so many, shook so many hands and even autographed his book for them. It was a thrilling day for me and for my granddaughter. How fortunate I am to have such a granddaughter. Without her help and support, I would never be able to attend these events nor would I be able to communicate my thoughts to so many of you without her supervision of this blog.
While waiting for our car we noticed a ten-year old boy accompanied by his father. He was as excited by the event as the rest of the crowd. Apparently attending political rallies is a regular father-son activity for them. They had come all the way from Hudson, Ohio. What a wonderful way to interest our young children in political activism. This is a great way to assure our country of informed electors. I would like to see more of this at these events. I challenge all of you to go to a rally before the election and take your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews. Send me your best pictures and thoughts and I’ll post them to my site!