Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Traveling Circus

Denver City Park, October 24, 2012
OK - I absolutely promise that this is my last post on the presidential election.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a speech by President Obama in Denver's City Park.  It was a huge production - truly the political equivalent of a traveling circus - with about 16,000 people attending. Yes, one of the perks of being in a closely contested state is that the candidates are constantly here. You almost feel like they will stop by your house if you promise to vote for them.

I usually try to avoid these crowded types of events, but I made an exception and went.  I tried to take in all of the hoopla around me.  This is such a huge effort - everyone had to go through security and there were more gates to go through than at most airports that I've been to.  The guards looked through my purse in a lot more detail than they do at the airport, even opening my sunglass case to see what was inside.  They handled the crowd well, and the lines moved quickly.  Very impressive.  After the event, I watched them roll up all of the security gates into the many waiting trucks and move on to the next location.  

While putting together the logistics of a "quick stop" for the President is mind-boggling (the stage, the acoustics, the crowd control barriers, etc., etc.), what affected me much more were the people who came.  Many came with wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes.  From babies to the very old.  A more diverse crowd than I see in my normal day-to-day in Denver and all very excited that they had the opportunity to see the President of the United States.  I was touched by the man who told me that he drove from Wichita, Kansas to see the President.  Even more touched by the elderly African-American lady who told me that she wanted to save her ticket to add to her collection of souvenirs from the 2008 election when she had all of her election paraphernalia laminated.  I'm sure when this woman was a girl she could not have imagined that she would see an African-American President of the United States in her lifetime.  Her pride in him was palpable.  There were also many children there, taken out of school to attend this event.  It made me happy to look at their faces and to realize that they would remember this day for the rest of their lives.  

Seeing all of the excitement of this visit was fun, and I got to shake hands with the Mayor of Denver, the Governor of Colorado, and the President of the United States. Cool.  By the way, his hand is not calloused by the many handshakes;  it's actually pretty soft.

Here are some photos from my day:

What can I say? It's definitely a fashion statement.
Colorado Governor Hickenlooper and my friend Jill

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

. . . And I Approved This Message

Hello from Ground Zero of a very close presidential race.  As I write this, Colorado still remains one of those handful of states that is too close to call for either candidate two weeks before election day.  The most recent poll I looked at today showed a difference of .2% between Obama and Romney, obviously well below the margin of error.  So the craziness here continues.  It has given me brain damage, I'm afraid, and consequently have been unable to accomplish much at all, including posting on this blog.

Soon after I first moved here, I did a blog post about mail-in voting in Colorado.  You can find that post here.  To avoid repetition, I won't go into the details of mail-in voting again, but I recently read that 70% of voters in this state get mail-in ballots.  Also, I learned that Colorado has the fourth best percentage of eligible voters who actually vote (Minnesota is the best and Hawaii the worst), so there are some definite advantages to this system.

I've already voted and dropped off my completed ballot yesterday.  I'm hoping that this will stem the barrage of contacts since it is a "done deal" for me now.  What surprised me when I looked at the ballot was the fact that there were 16 candidates for president and vice president listed on the ballot.  I had to search among the long list of candidates for the two whose faces and names have become constant companions to everyone in this state.  I did see Roseanne Barr's name as a presidential candidate (somehow she doesn't have all of the qualities that I look for in the leader of the free world), but other than that, who are these people and what are these political parties about?  I wonder if all states have so very many presidential candidates or if it is only this state.  As you vote, please let me know, just for my own curiosity.  Here's what the presidential ballot looked like here:  

2012 Colorado Ballot