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Friday, August 05, 2016

Notes on a Clinton Rally

I was a Bernie Sanders supporter, but when it became apparent he was not going to win I did an about-face and had no hesitation about supporting Hillary Clinton. Would I prefer someone like Elizabeth Warren? Sure, but I'd be happy as a clam to see Clinton become the first woman President of the United States.

So I donated some money and now get about five emails a day. One caught my interest--she would be making an appearance in Las Vegas, where I live. I had nothing special to do on that day (I'm a teacher on summer vacation) and I thought, how often do I get the chance to see a potential president in person?

The answer is hardly ever. When I lived in Jersey City, I went to a Michael Dukakis rally. Four years later I went to hear Bill Clinton, as he was giving a speech in the courthouse and the suckers who weren't VIPs listened to it outside. When he was leaving the building I saw the back of his head. I have never seen Barack Obama in person. So this was my best chance.

I RSVP'd, thinking it would give me privileges like a chair, immediate access, and perhaps a chance to discuss with the candidate issues like Common Core and fracking. No such luck--it meant nothing, there was only one line in. But the Democrats in charge did something right--they constructed a tent outside the venue (a union hall) that was air-conditioned. They probably expected 115 degree temperatures, but instead it kept us dry from a drizzling rain.

The line moved pretty fast, but I was saddened to see we would all be standing, like rock fans in a mosh pit. My poor feet held up, just barely. But the show started on time. First we heard from my congresswoman, Dina Titus, and then the Democratic candidate for Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto. They were followed by the man Masto is hoping to replace, Harry Reid, and the candidate herself, in a green pantsuit.

When it came time for Clinton to speak, she gave what I imagine is her standard stump speech, tailored for the location. Las Vegas, given all the construction and hotels, is a big union town (the largest employer is the school system, and many of the teachers are union). The hall belonged to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Clinton, as shown in her convention speech, is not about soaring poetry--she talked about sewer systems and electric grids, which of course, means jobs. She also hit on some education points, such as reducing interest on college loans or refinancing them, and free community college. Nothing about ditching Common Core or her take on standardized testing. Also, not to much about the environment--the word fracking was not mentioned.

She also talked very little about foreign affairs, and more about her idiot opponent. But she didn't talk about his fetish with nuclear weapons. Instead she went after his outsourcing of manufacturing ties, suits, and furniture to other countries. And how he brings in immigrant workers to employ at his golf courses, saying that there are no American workers to do the job. And his atrocious treatment of small businesses by not paying them. She specifically mentioned a drapery company in Las Vegas that was stiffed for $400,000 and had to go out of business.

Trump has a presence in Las Vegas. He has a hotel, and of course he fought unionization. Note that he does not have a hotel and a casino, because he could not get a casino license. Let that sink in--Trump is ineligible to have a casino license in Las Vegas.

There was one moment of extra excitement. I was keeping an eye on the Secret Service agents who surrounded her. They looked like tough guys, scanning the crowd, waiting to snap into action if needed. Not five minutes after I considered this they did snap into action, moving like panthers as they descended upon some animal rights activists in the front row who breached the security line. Clinton, unflappable, said they made a good point, and must be protesting Trump--"he and his sons kill lots of animals."

I've wondered at the sense of these people protesting there. Animal cruelty is a corporate activity, not a political one. Hillary Clinton manages no farms, no laboratories, no zoos. I'm all for animal rights, but there's a time and place for everything. These people weren't PETA, but like PETA, they can sometimes shoot themselves in the foot. And it's just plain rude.

They were outside after the event, maybe ten people. There were a handful of counter-protestors, one with a "Never Hillary" sign. An older woman said that Hillary was going to send her grandson to war. My reply was, "Donald Trump wants to use nuclear weapons." Let them vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, or better yet, stay home on election day.

Nothing Hillary Clinton said or did made me any less likely to vote for her. Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, and may be in the pocket of the Russian mob. If that isn't enought to dissuade people from voting for him, I don't know what is.

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