[The following article is written by Elizabeth Rogers especially for Frankly Curious. I’ve been to a total of two political rallies: both with Jesse Jackson. Let me just say that you have not seen Jackson until you’ve seen him live. At one rally, I saw him in a church in Portland. I was following along with a journalist I knew who worked for SF Weekly. I totally had a crush on her. But Jackson was amazing. Anyway, that is the past and this is the present. Enjoy! -FM]
One of the fun things about being an American is our political rallies. And so on the 21st I went off to what is probably my seventh millionth rally and saw Hillary Clinton along with a local all-star lineup speak at my high school alma matter-Carl Hayden Community High School. This was impressive since no one goes to Hayden because it is a west side ghetto school.
So first things first! The waiting in line. One hallmark of going to a political rally is having to stand around endlessly in line or in a group wondering when things were going to start happening. In Arizona, this can and almost did cause heat exhaustion. I was stuck in the sun portion for about two and a half hours, as the temperature slowly rose to 94 degrees. Cue nearly falling over and becoming so shaky that my photos are, well, not exactly Ansel Adams quality.
The second thing is that events like this attract odd types — Frank will hopefully write about one so I will leave that.
It did attract this van that drove around for a while. Rocky De Le Fuete is one of the perennial candidates who never goes anywhere on the ballot. Just the same, he did manage to get 95 votes in the New Hampshire primary, which put him in 8th place out of 28. Who says we have no candidates to choose from?!
There were also protesters who were Trump supporters including one who was armed because that is what you want around a high school. One of the women waiting in line with me was a teacher and she kept asking the police to arrest him as he was right across the street, but they didn’t do anything.
When we got inside, the gym had room for something like 500 people. No one goes to sporting events at Hayden so they never really needed to have space for that many people. Unfortunately because of how much space the media took up we couldn’t use the much more comfortable and spacious auditorium. So here are some of the people that were comfortably gathered, waiting for the big event:
The all-star lineup of local people started with Arizona State Representative Lela Alston. Then we had Dolores Huerta. [Co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association (later: United Farm Workers) with César Chávez.] Next up was my friend, Representative Ruben Gallego who is one of the most energetic campaigners out there and yes, he does so even when he wins his primary. I cannot wait to see where he wants to go politically.
Next up was Tom Perez, who is our current Labor Secretary. He gave an amazing stem-winder of a campaign speech. I actually wondered if his voice was going to hold up.
After him, Mark Kelly escorted his wife on stage, former Representative Gabby Giffords. The crowd, already hyped up, went nuts when she started to speak. She isn’t back 100% and she never will be but she is really well loved.
Finally the actual person to introduce Clinton was Gila River Indian Community’s Governor, Stephen Lewis.
Clinton Finally Arrives at Her Rally!
Then Clinton came out and did her standard stump speech. It was about 15 minutes long. What struck me as significant is that Clinton is a great deal like me in one aspect. I hate giving speeches. I talk too fast and I get nervous and forget where I am in my speeches. But I love one on one. So after she finished talking, she spent way more time walking along the line and taking photos, shaking hands and looking like she was having a blast just being one on one with people. Probably because you can be yourself in a way that you can’t be in a speech. Especially with someone with her history of being attacked for saying pretty much anything. (Although I probably will agree with the regulars on the AIPAC conference.)
That is why she works the room after those debates instead of running off to her next event. It looks like this is the fun part of campaigning for her. Yes there are fun parts and people don’t always find them to be the same thing. Some candidates love giving speeches; Trump loves the sound of his own voice. Some like fundraising… Okay no; no one likes fundraising.
After the rally my mother, sister and I made our slow way back to Mom’s house — we were exhausted after all of the excitement and standing in the sun. That was my adventure with the Clinton Rally. And I didn’t even get a decent picture of her!