Monday, October 13, 2008

Drill baby, Drill

Today we rented a car and drove to Richmond, Virginia, to witness a Sarah Palin Rally. It was scary. I guess we felt like it's important to know the enemy - sort of like keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

 Virginia is still officially a so-called  swing-state, yet Obama is up by 6.5 percent in average according to RealClearPolitics. For a while we were undercover at the rally just listening to the speeches, the small talk of the Palin fans, and the country music that seems to follow the McCain/Palin campaign.

The field on which it happened was coloured red by all the republican merchandise and that's why it was fairly easy to see this one sign that read "WOMEN FOR OBAMA". 

The girl holding the sign was an 18-year-old college student and she must be the bravest girl in the world screaming Obama at the top of her lungs.

And brave is just the right word for her because the Palin fans were yelling comebacks you wouldn't expect.

Make no mistake it was a very hostile environment and the N-word was used about Obama. We were shocked. 

After playing "The Eye of a Tiger" and a couple of other songs we finally saw the 'Straight Talk Express' arriving. And suddenly there she was: Sarah Palin. No longer on Youtube, where you can switch her off when she gets too much - but there in flesh and blood talking about Americans being independent from foreign oil. And suddenly the crowd starting yelling "Drill baby, drill". Another topic, which quite naturally was covered, was the financial crisis. Virginia is quite interesting in that sense, seeing that it's such a diverse state.

It was a very frustrating thing to witness the rally because these people are so convinced that freedom, patriotism and war on terror is the same as showing love for your country - it seems like there is no point in even trying to argue with them. It's obvious that they are controlled by fear. 

On our way back to the car we luckily met some protesters and participated and that kind of lifted our spirits a bit. The woman organising the protest put much emphasis on the fact that we are campaigning positively. Smile at everyone and show your sign. However, it seems fair to say that the passing republicans did not like that. We were buh'ed at from just about every car leaving the rally. 

But that's probably the lesson of today: you can't control what other people think about you and what you stand for, but you can control how you react to it.

/Anette and Fabijana

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