Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Election Day 2004

Tammy got us four tickets to see President Bush last Saturday at the Target Center. We began our day early as we headed out at 9:00am...trust me, that's early on a Saturday for us. We caught the light rail at the VA center and took it into Minneapolis where it dropped us off within a block of the Target Center. The train tickets were reasonable at $3 each for a round trip. I'm not sure I like the way it works though; it's on the honor system and there is absolutely nobody to check and see if you paid. By December the light rail will run all the way to the Mall of America and what's to stop anyone from jumping on the train and not paying. Maybe this would have worked 30 years ago in a different town but not today the way it's set up.

We got to the Target Center around 10:00am. Large crowds don't do much for me but I was enthused to see such a large turnout so early in the morning. The lines were over 3 blocks long outside. Theresa (Tammy's sister) noticed that there were also people waiting in the skyway above to get in. We opted for the warmth of the skyway and I think a much shorter line. After 45 minutes the lines began to move. We had to pass through security similar to what you would find at the airport. Theresa had to leave her fingernail file behind as that was a no-no. We found some nice seats just above the main floor. It was actually nice to be among so many Bush supporters. The one thing which struck me and kept coming back to me, again and again, was the diversity of the crowd. It wasn't a bunch of middle-age white guys in suits. There were so many young people who gave me a lift to see. I'd like to have seen more people of color but still, there were many. Rachel was pretty psyched to see the president.

We had to wait a few hours before he made his appearance. He wasn't expected to speak until 1:30 but we had to wait until 2:00 as he was running a bit behind. The crowd was there for him and I doubt there were many undecided voters there.

When he finally took the stage he spoke for 45 minutes. Rachel had the great idea to stop into the public services office earlier and get earplugs for us. They came in handy as it got quite loud at times. There isn't really much new being said at this late stage of the campaign and today offered nothing I hadn't already heard. Still, being there and sharing that with family is something I'll never forget. Here's a panoramic view I stitched together taken from our seats.

As we were leaving the rally there were very vocal Kerry supporters lining the street across from the Target Center. It didn't take but a moment to notice them and you could tell that they weren't happy with us or President Bush being there. We gave them the thumbs down signal and shouted back at them as they shouted at us. As it turned out we walked the wrong way for a block and had to double back in the direction of the protesters. We approached them from behind and when we got right next to them I yelled 'Hey everybody, how about a big cheer for President Bush? Four more years, four more years!' Several of them quickly converged on me and I went toe to toe with them. We were all shouting our support for our man and it went on for several minutes. One guy, in particular, got right in my face and I reached forward to blow him a kiss and decided that a photo of him would be nice for the archives...

I departed the area with a big grin on my face but that was mostly because of Rachel. As I was confronting and being confronted she went running by me yelling 'Hey everybody, I'm a right-wing nut job!' It was the funniest moment of the day and one I'll never forget. We jumped back on the light rail and headed south out of the city.

I noticed a couple Kerry supporters on the train and I felt a bit bad for them as they were surrounded by people who don't think very highly of their man. It was all friendly though and nobody had any cause for concern. We all enjoyed our little road trip and got home around 4:00pm. It's going to be an interesting Tuesday night. Let's all say a prayer that God will guide whoever is elected to do what is right and give him the wisdom to know.

I wrote the above for our family forum a few days ago. Now to today...I stopped by our church, Hosanna, to vote after getting off work this afternoon. There was no line to speak of and I was in and out in just over 5 minutes. I'm growing a bit weary of all the politics and I'll be very glad to have this election over with.

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