Charlottesville, VA. President Barack Obama came to town this past Thursday, October 29th to lend his support to Representative Tom Periello, the Democratic incumbent to Congressional District #5. For a small town that likes to demonstrate how blasé it is to wealth, fame, and power, Charlottesville reacted with an outpouring of genuine excitement. The magic continued even to the following day, allowing the Virginia Cavaliers to upset #22-ranked Miami in the Saturday foodball game. Will wonders never cease!
I happily voted for Obama. The day following his election, I could dress and celebrate and go about my day instead of spending it in mourning – in my bathrobe with a bloody Mary in my hand – as I had for the two previous presidential elections. Not only did I vote for Obama, I’ve supported his administration and its responses to the enormous challenges faced: economic, medical, social, political, geographic, catastrophic, etc. When I first moved to Harrisonburg, VA from Roanoke, VA, I mistakenly assumed that Charlottesville and Harrisonburg were in the same Congressional district. Sadly, I believed that I was jettisoning my “nemesis-as-Representative” Bob Goodlatte (R), for Representative Tom Periello (D). I was wrong. The move has assisted in huge, positive, and remarkable changes in my life but even near-perfection can’t save me from Goodlatte.
So, despite bone-deep and numbing fatigue from the previous work week, the regular awful Friday traffic, and our already-established plans to travel up Afton Mountain to Charlottesville, VA early on Saturday for the football game, there was no question of us not attempting a real “face-to-face” view of the President on Friday evening. My boyfriend and I fed the border collie early, left the television on for her to have some company, and raced off to see President Obama.
We were too late by far too many hours. It seems that while the gates to the venue where the rally would be held – the Pavilion – were opened at 5 PM that evening, wannabe rally attendees lined up for admission as early as 5 AM in the morning. In the end, 9,000 people attended the Obama/Periello rally inside the Pavilion with another 3,000 outside the gates, according to the Daily Progress. The crowds looped around the Pavilion and ended up in the pedestrian-only, bricked line “downtown mall” area. All the restaurants were crowded, music blared, people spoke in shouts and, by the smell and general environment, we seemed to have ended up on the alcoholic side of the rally. We couldn’t hear anything but the people around us.
It was too much. We were too tired to wait stay on our feet much longer, too hungry to wait hours to eat, too poor to “buy” our way into an establishment. Charlottesville may be too jaded to stare and point at celebrities and billionaires, but the city residents definitely turned out for the President of the United States.
We turned around and went home. A half an hour later we were at home in the warm den with cold pizza, and watching the local channel’s TIVO’d coverage of the rally. This is an awful thing to admit in this age of distance and technology, as I openly ridicule children playing “baseball” inside on computers and help teach “conditioning,” a fancy word for getting out and moving, but the rally was better on television: we didn’t have to stand in line for a bathroom, the refreshments were free and plentiful, and we comfortably sprawled about the den furniture. We listened to the President’s remarks twice, clapped when appropriate, and wished we could vote for Tom this upcoming Election Day.
At least we can vote against Bob Goodlatte.
Amos, Catherine. “FINAL STRETCH: Hurt, Perriello Push Through to Tuesday.” Daily Progress. Oct 30, 2010.
McNeill, Brian. “Obama Rallies for Perriello at the Pavilion.” Daily Progress. Oct 29, 2010.
Dixit, Rachana. “Residents, Students, Protestors Pack Rally.” Daily Progress. Oct 29, 2010.