I had one of my occasional dips into the democratic political process today – I attended a rally in Newark, NJ for the reelection of Jon Corzine as governor of New Jersey, with Loretta Weingberg, from my town, as Lieutenant Governor. The wait outside was tedious, but we got to the head of the line with three lovely young ladies we happened to meet, all of them dressed to the nines, and with VIP tickets.
Eventually, we got in, and we watched the entertainment while we waited. We ended up sitting next to the girls, all of whom are from Kenya it turns out. Loretta, Cory, and Jon gave their stump speeches, and then the main attraction was on – Barak Obama. The crowd went crazy – it was electric! I had to laugh when he walked out – amazing to see him in the flesh rather than as a flickering image of a political celebrity. We were only 150 feet away at the most.
He gave a good speech – a mixture of popular politics with some wit and humor. He manages to weave in important ideas in a way that makes them seem popular, not something for only an elite. He commented on how Corzine (and he) are mopping up a mess left by the previous administration, and that they don’t really mind doing that, except why do they (the Republicans) have to stand around and say things like:
“Uh, can you mop faster? You’re not holding that mop right. Why do you have to use a socialist mop?” I thought that last bit was a good dig at the GOP, quite witty for an American political speech.
As Obama was led out, people formed a crush to shake his hand or just touch him. One big fellow was walking towards us, his hand held out – “I shook his hand, I shook the brother’s hand! Amazing!” – probably never so excited since Christmas morning as a little boy. My wife shook his hand, the hand that shook the hand …