A Ron Paul event on a weekday for once! So I can actually go! I packed up the kids and some snacks and zoomed on up to North Seattle, to the UW.
That was my first good look at the UW, which is an atmosphere that appeals to me. Old buildings and books. Yep. We looked around the food court and I noticed the students were all staring hard at me. It was enough attention that I began to find it disconcerting. Why? The students were young adults with a few middle aged, some obvious professors, mostly very classy, and a few power professionals walking around in wool and confidence. I was only a little older than their average. I began to wonder why I seemed so much different that I should be stared at, then realized this was probably the first bunch of little kids this population has seen for weeks.
We were too early, but eventually Ron Paul types began to appear and assemble outside. A nice couple who had brought extra signs insisted that we'd be doing them a favor by taking some.
Very early picture when only a few people had shown up!
Lots of guys were wearing suits who weren't used to wearing suits (it shows!) and I found out that Ron Paul had given a talk on economics this morning, with the instructions to dress business. That added to the classiness level of the crowd.
The kids and I got assigned to hold signage around the front of the building. I was a little worried because everybody kept saying Ron Paul was going to show up at any moment, and I wanted to see him. But hey, we came here to be useful, not to be entertained! We have much inactivity to make up for.
One small detail, I was freezing. There was a chilly wind and my light jacket wasn't enough, and I wished I had a beanie. But so what if I get the sniffles? I can have a cold for Ron Paul, can't I? So I breathed in the cold air happily and wrote off tomorrow as a sick day. (But then didn't get sick!)
The kids were all for it. We had one 4x8 sign and two 2x3 signs. I insisted the boys stand up on the raised area where there was a big tree, and the girls closer to the street. Several people stopped to ask where it was happening, and we were getting smiles from everybody, even the cop who was out there watching.
When Ron Paul arrived, we went back to the square, which by then had filled up completely, with hundreds of people packed together waiting and shouting. Sorry but I can't concentrate on Ron Paul, he's not as important as keeping track of my boys! The twins had their signs and Mike especially had instantly developed an eye for where a sign was needed, and would go place himself to fill the space. I had to do some pushing and shoving through people to stay at the front with the boys. Of course together they get that twinpact, and every news reporter took their picture. There was another smaller kid there, holding a sign as big as himself, who also got a lot of attention.
A reporter stepped up to the guy next to me and said, "Okay, it's you!" and started interviewing him. Yikes, that's a danger of being in the front row, so I took some steps back and turned invisible. There was a lady with a sign, "Ron Paul stole my [big red heart shape]" who seemed to enjoy being interviewed, so I let her do that.
When Ron Paul climbed up on the wall to speak, everybody started screaming, and I just held my boys. It was a simply fabulous short speech, basic facts about liberty and small government, and the happy sound of everybody around agreeing with him. Tremendous good vibes in the air were very good for the soul. The boys couldn't see anything and got impatient of being surrounded by people's rear ends, so I took turns lifting them up so they could see Ron Paul. Still, how cool to be this close to him! Close enough to hear his voice with my ears, and he wasn't talking loudly either, the people were all being very quiet.
When he went away the crowd started to move into the building right after him. I didn't really know where we were going or why, might as well go that way and see what's in there! I concentrated on keeping kids together in the flow of that firmly-packed herd, which was a bit scary actually, even though the crowd was friendly. When one of my signs fell everybody just walked on it and I got pushed back, but a couple of big guys paid attention and helped me pick it up again.
Ron Paul went right by me while I was paying attention to the boys. One of my girls got backed into by the door, and someone commented to her, "You almost got squished!" and another guy said, "But it would be an honor to be squished by Ron Paul!!"
I was impressed that Ron Paul went away in a little blue minivan. What an economical way for a candidate to get around! I took a picture of a lady in a shirt that said, "Dr. Ron Paul Cured My Apathy" and then we headed home.
As we left we encountered just one heckler. I had warned the kids there might be antis there, but there had not been any and I had forgotten all about it. But come to think, Ron Paul is one of the most politically correct causes I've ever supported! Anyway, this seedy looking character crossing the walkway above us saw the Ron Paul signs and yelled down, "Talk is cheap! In the last fifty years they haven't changed anything and they're not going to now!" That's about as mild as you could ask for and he wasn't even near us.
I came home so happy! What a great day! I did my little bit and the kids had behaved, at least they behaved until they got back to the van... They all said they'd had a blast. The boys were still chanting "Ron Paul! Ron Paul!" and didn't want to stop. Supporters had been friendly to them and talked to them about things. One lady had taken time to explain to Mike what a supporter was.
Then from the MP3 player came that song, Innocence: "I found a place so safe, not a single tear, the first time in my life and now it's so clear, feel calm, I belong, I'm so happy here, it's so strong and now I let myself be sincere." That really made my day! That's what it was. In that crowd, I fit in. Instead of a fish out of water, for once, I was a fish among a school of fish, and so natural I didn't even notice it until later.
So I'd call that a wonderful day!
There's a picture of that little tiny kid!
This link says it's 700 people, well, it was definitely a lot more than 300.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=QIPWZ09S0XQ Good 7-minute video of Ron Paul's speech