The Palin Rally in Asheville
Lissa and I left Knoxville about 2PM, looking to get into Asheville around 3:30, well ahead of the 7:30PM start time. We figured we'd beat most of the traffic and get good seats.
Nope. I-240 became a parking lot about a half mile from the exit, and it took us every bit of an hour to travel that half mile. By the time we got off the interstate, found a place to park, and walked over to the Asheville Civic Center, it was 4:30PM, and we were lined up with around 15,000 of our new best friends, plus 200 or so people who seemed like they didn't like us, but we didn't worry about them too much.
There was very little in the way of crowd management or any organization on the part of the Rally planners, and we had no idea which line to follow. One stretched right, one stretched left, and there was a great clot of people in the middle. We chose the right side and took our places in a line that stretched around the block, down to the next street, up the alley and back over to the Civic Center.
I was pretty sure we weren't going to get into the rally so while Lissa stayed in line, I went around the area, taking pictures and video, and trying to get an interview or two with Obama supporters. Unfortunately, most of them wanted to chant slogans or yell things about Palin, or in the case of one rather cryptic individual, strut around the area saying only, "I'm not a second class citizen."
We waited in line, got to know the folks next to us, and absorbed a little heckling from Obama supporters as they drifted by. One rather grungy looking young man walked by and decided to exchange pleasantries with us.
"It looks like an Obama rally!" he said.
"No, we're too well dressed and have too much money for that!" I responded.
The young man seemed shocked, not just that I responded but that I blatantly played the class warfare card before he could.
"Well, you...ummm....errr...." I think he'd been listening to too many Obama speeches when the teleprompter was broken.
"Well you're right," he finally sputtered. "You do have too much money!"
"Hey," I said, "I'm not embarrassed to admit that I have a brain, education, and training, and I use them to make a good living. I'm not embarrassed at all to live well."
He had no answer for that.
So we waited in line and about 6:45, Civic Center personnel came out and told everyone that not only the hall was full, but standing room was full, and the overflow was full. We weren't going to get in. Hundreds of people left to go get some dinner, but we decided to walk over to the front of the Civic Center to hang out with other McCain/Palin supporters who didn't get in.
That's when things got really interesting.
The Obama supporters had crossed the street, and were now directly in front of the Civic Center and one of them said something to me relating to "Get an education, read a book!"
"I did get an education, I do read, and that's why I am employed and don't need the government to take care of me."
I don't know why, but that really seemed to upset these folks, and they proceeded to remonstrate with me most forcefully. Apparently, they did not realize that I have a very loud speaking voice, a command of the facts, and for some strange reason, I decided to use both of them that evening. To those who were arguing that McCain's tax plan was unfair, I pointed out that, according to the IRS, under Bush the wealthiest 20% of Americans saw their tax burden increase, while the poorest 20% saw it decrease from 0 to -4%. I pointed out that Obama planned to offer tax cuts to 95% of Americans while raising spending by $1 trillion dollars, and that math doesn't work no matter how hard you try it. I told them that in America, it is not the responsibility of the government to take care of them, that it was up to them to take care of themselves and their families. I told them that the size of government didn't start exploding under Bush, it started exploding under Roosevelt and the New Deal, and that entitlements had grown exponentially since then.
And I pointed out that when a people become dependent on a government for their daily survival, they stop being citizens of that government and become subjects instead.
They chanted "Obama!" and called me a liar.
Well, that's not entirely true. There was one young man there, and in six months of asking people what they knew about Obama's platform, he was the first who could answer in any more detail than, "He's for changing healthcare." Instead of meaningless drivel, this man knew Obama's health care proposals by heart, and was able to quote them to me.
I congratulated him for taking the time to get to know something about his candidate, and then asked him a simple question.
"How much will all of this cost?"
He didn't know.
"Where is Obama going to get the money to pay for it?"
He didn't know.
"Didn't Obama say during the debate that he had accounted for all the spending and he had funding for every dime of it in his budget?"
"Yes, he did!"
I asked one final question. "Then why do you suppose he hasn't put that information out there to his supporters, on his website, anywhere?"
I left the young man there to ponder that question as another Obama supporter was saying something about the military that I needed to respond to.
It was a very interesting 20 minutes or so, and later, Lissa told me that the police were afraid they'd have to break it up so I wouldn't get hurt. The funny thing is that as I disengaged from the discussion, Lissa took over and began carrying the argument to the Obama supporters herself. At one point, the Obama crowd began arguing with each other about whether they were for or against regulation, and that's when I knew it was over. Lissa and the young lady she was arguing with ended up hugging and then we walked off.
Then the Civic Center opened up the auditorium, and let in the overflow folks who were still left, so we got to see the rally after all, even though it was via video. Sarah Palin was her usual self, elegant, eloquent, and enthusiastic. She attacked Obama for the treatment his campaign and surrogates have given Joe the Plumber for the crime of asking a question. She praised John McCain and mentioned his plan to freeze most spending in Washington and balance the budget in his first term. (Math hint for those educated in government schools: To balance a budget you have to cut spending and/or raise revenue. If you raise spending without raising revenue, your budget will never balance. It's called mathematics. You might want to look into it.) She went on to call out Obama for not telling the truth about his plans, his ideas, or his associations. It was an effective performance, designed to fire up the voters in the audience.
And then it was over and it was time to make the drive over the mountains back home.
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I filmed the event - here is the link: <a href="http://exposureroom.com/3d6d64a83c4d49608dbc8ba6c5062e38/" rel="nofollow">http://exposureroom.com/3d6d64a83c4d49608dbc8ba6c5062e38/</a>
Here is what the people inside had to say: <a href="http://exposureroom.com/5df37512c10d49e49794fab917777587/" rel="nofollow">http://exposureroom.com/5df37512c10d49e49794fab917777587/</a>
I also had a staff member film the outside of the civic center - all will be aired on URTV.
www.urtv.org ch 20
Email for more info.