Saturday, March 27, 2010
Today, March 27, 2010, I attended the McCain for Senate Rally at Dobson High School in Mesa. What follows is a brief description of the event followed by my own impressions.
The event was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. I arrived at about 8 a.m. and discovered that I was much too late to get a seat. It was standing room only, but so it goes.
Starting at about 8:20 a.m., a variety of local politicians spoke to the crowd. These included the Mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, Congressmen John Shadegg and Jeff Flake, and the Principal of Dobson Senior High Matthew Gehrman, himself a graduate of the school.
Their talk ended at 8:55, and then Cindy McCain spoke to a very enthusiastic crowd. She introduced Sarah Palin, who spoke to an electrified crowd for about twenty minutes. Two men in the crowd interrupted her, and she dealt with them ably, giving the distinct impression that she is accustomed to and prepared for such interruptions. Then John McCain spoke for about twenty minutes, with the event ending at about 10:10 a.m.
Palin' and McCain's themes centered primarily on the importance of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with an alternative plan that would emphasize tort reform. They also emphasized McCain's opposition to earmarks and pork barrel spending.
I could tell that there were a few conservatives there who were still undecided between McCain and J. D. Hayworth, but McCain's military service carried tremendous weight with conservatives generally. I would estimate that a full third (or even more) of the men present were current or former military. There was a huge contingent of men displaying all of their military badges and honors.
The other factor that carried much weight with conservatives was Sarah Palin's endorsement.
Now some impressions. First, I was struck by the racial diversity. I keep hearing about all of these racists that are supposed to be gravitating to Palin and the Obama opposition, and while I am sure there are racists around, I must stress that this "vibe" was not at all present. There were many Hispanics, some African-Americans, and some American Indians there. I was standing next to a man of Japanese descent. Having been to the tax protest on April 15th, 2009, and having been at the Palin rally today, I must conclude that the meme about racism contains some amount of exaggeration and spin.
Second, I was struck by the age of the people. While there were many young and middle-aged people, there was a very large contingent of older people. I enjoyed this. It had the feel of one generation offering something to the next. The proud patriotism of the older generation filled me with great joy and a sense of nostalgia. John McCain is flesh-and-blood patriotism, and the sacrifices he made for us move me to the core.
Third, I must emphasize the power of Sarah Palin's presence. This woman has the X factor and she has it in the marrow of her bones. She comes to the podium with an electricity and magnetism that cannot fail to move her audience. When I consider the obvious fact that most everyone there was already an admirer of her, I believe that an honest observer cannot deny that her appeal is like a force of nature. She is an amazing public speaker. She dealt with the disruptions professionally and deftly. Sarah Palin has earned and deserves her place in conservatism. I am sorry if that offends anybody, but it is an objective fact. I have seen it with my eyes. John McCain benefits tremendously from her endorsement.
In conclusion, I am delighted to have attended McCain's rally. I have never been involved in politics in an active way in the past, and it is really fun to be a part of the process. It is fun to meet new and interesting people who want to be involved in the future of the country. There is an energy there that infuses one's spirit with new enthusiasm and a sense of purpose. This general principle applies regardless of one's political orientation, so I encourage you to get out there and meet new people and explore the political space of this, the great United States of America.