Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My First Chance to See a Presidential Candidate (update)

This afternoon I stood in the sun for a few hours to hear Sen. Hillary Clinton. She gave what was clearly a well-crafted, well-rehearsed, oft-given stump speech, but it was a good stump speech. She was a very engaging speaker and she has the ability to make you feel as if she is talking directly to you. Substantively, she spoke about virtually all of the issues; rarely did she go into great depth or detail, but she did provide enough ideas, both in terms of what she wants to do and in terms of how to do it, to give the listener a good idea of what to expect if she is elected.

She never mentioned Sen. Obama by name (and only referred to him indirectly a few times). When she referred to Sen. McCain and the crowd booed, she cautioned that Sen. McCain was a friend and an American who we should all be proud of, but noted, respectfully, that his ideas were wrong.

While I still have not made up my mind, I will say that I was very, very impressed by Sen. Clinton and I liked much (if not all) of what she had to say. Most people who have been following the campaign have probably already heard most of what she had to say, but there is something different about hearing it in person; there is a different kind of vibe and energy. Plus, I couldn't help but get excited about the core concept of democracy at work. Here was a person who wants to be President standing in the middle of a group of citizens, some supporters, some undecided, telling them what she would do if elected and asking for their support. That is what democracy is supposed to be about.

I'm still stunned that Indiana gets to play a role at all in choosing the nominees. After all, in my post "Obama, Huckabee, and Iowa...Oh My! - Yawn..." (just my 4th post after starting this blog, way back in early January 2008), I bemoaned the fact that, come May, the candidates would have been chosen and Indiana would once again be left out. I am so thrilled to have been wrong (at least that one time; I try not to make a habit out of it...).

One quick note about the photo (taken on my iPhone). As you can see, I was about 30 feet away from Sen. Clinton, but I was able to move closer as her speech continued. The plaza in which the event took place (American Legion Mall) is part of group a campus of museums, monuments, memorials, and public parks that extends for five blocks in downtown Indianapolis. It is an area of which Indianapolis is, rightly, quite proud. Also, in the distant background of the photo is the building in which I work; it is still being repaired following massive storm damage in August 2006. On the left side of the building is the new curtain wall and on the right is the sheet metal erected in replace the windows and curtain wall that were destroyed in the storm.

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