.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama Rally in Virginia

A few days ago my wife attended an Obama rally in Harrisonburg, one of two that were held for him in Virginia that day, the other being at Norfolk. It was a cold and windy but sunny late afternoon, and the amazing number of 25,000 people attended, a great many of them students from James Madison University, Harrisonburg's main claim to fame these days.

My wife, like everyone else there, was suitably inspired, plus now she can say that she has seen two Presidential candidates, the other being Kennedy when he visited Howard U. back in '59 or '60. That beats me because, though I lived in the Nation's Capital for 45 years, I have never seen a President in person, as a candidate or while in the office.

--That is, if you don't want to count a day when I was three or four and our parents took my sister and me to the Easter Egg rolling event that they used to hold annually on the White House lawn. I remember that only with the greatest vagueness, but I have the feeling that the President at that time, who would've been FDR, came out and greeted us all.

Unlike the friends who accompanied her there, my wife got a seat inside because she had a V.I.P. ticket, given to her by the manager of the county's Obama office, because she liked my wife's efforts while working as an volunteer in the office. The crowd was so large that my wife's friends had to stand in the cold and the wind outside, but this turned out to work to the great advantage of one of them, because she got exactly what she had been looking for, as a photographer. Before Obama went in, he stopped to talk people near her, and she got some very good pictures.

It turned out to be the first time that a Presidential candidate had visited Harrisonburg since Stephen A. Douglas back in 1860. This is surprising, because, though not large by national standards, Harrisonburg is a big town in Virginia's important Shenandoah Valley.

However I could relate to that revelation, because I had just finished reading Bruce Catton's "The Coming Fury," in which he describes the extremely heated political season of 1860 that splintered the then largely pro-slavery Democratic Party, of which Douglas was the chief candidate, and that saw the victory of the newly formed Republican party, which was largely anti-slavery, a weird reversal of today'as situation, though in name they are the same two parties. Douglas had tried to find a middle ground, but he was overwhelmed by the Southern States, who had made up their minds to secede should Lincoln be elected. Oddly Lincoln had looked for a middle ground, too, and he had been more successful at it. A year after he came to Harrisonburg Douglas died, and the Great War Between the States started.

Too bad that Douglas and Lincoln and all those around them can't be around to see what's happening in Virginia and in the U.S. today. With less than a week to go the polls indicate that Obama is leading in the country and in Virginia, which till now has for decades been a reliably Republican or "red" state but now is showing every sign of having turned "purple" instead.

An indication of that turn of events may be what I saw on my road today during one of my rare drives to town. I saw lots of Obama signs but not one McCain on that whole stretch of the road. Even the resident conservative, a "been-here" who is very well known to all of us "come-here's," had an Obama sign near his driveway. I plan to ask around how that happened. I know just where to ask first.


Blogger LeftLeaningLady said...

It's almost over. The stress is getting to me.

I hadn't thought of what those of the past would think. I am certain it would be an enormous shock to their system.

We've come a long way, baby.

9:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home