Sunday, September 2, 2012

President Obama in Colorado

I feel so disappointed. Just... really heartbroken.

I usually keep my political opinions out of my blog. Political opinions tend to push some people away, and that's not what I want for my blog.

This post isn't about my opinion on issues; it's about my experience.

I support President Barack Obama, and I am a campaign volunteer for him. At least once a week, Andrew watches the kids in the evenings for me so that I can get to the campaign office and make some calls to people in my area. I love reaching out to people and talking about the issues.

Well, about a month ago, President Obama came to Denver. I got a call from my volunteer organizer, and she told me she had a VIP ticket for me to see the President. One of the hardest things I've ever done was turning that ticket down. You see, I had anniversary plans with my husband to go up in a hot air balloon. When I got back to the campaign office, everyone was talking about how they got to meet the President and First Lady. I don't think I've ever been more jealous of anything in my life. I mean, I'm glad I got to celebrate my anniversary with my husband. I was just sad about what I gave up to do it.

Well, today, the President came back to Colorado. He came to Boulder, which is about an hour away. It's out of our area, I guess, so my campaign office didn't get tickets. So, Andrew and I drove up to Broomfield on Thursday night (when the tickets were released) and picked up two tickets for my friend Aminta and me.

The doors opened at 10am. Aminta and I got to Boulder at 8:15am.

Here I am in my Obama outfit:

We waited in the hot sun to get in, but it was totally worth it. Although there were hundreds of people ahead of us, we had amazing "seats." By seats, I mean a place to stand! We were about 20 feet from the stage.

Here's Aminta! "O" for Obama, of course! You can see we beat the crowds. 

The event was to start any time between 10am and 1pm. At first, we had access to a free water station. Before long, the crowds filled in behind us, and we couldn't get water unless we wanted to abandon our awesome spot. In all, there were over 13,000 people there.

The crowd behind us:

Here was my view of the podium:

We waited and waited and waited. Around noon, my breasts started to ache from not nursing Jo. Then, I started to get sick from the heat. I had stomach pains and was dizzy. I kept holding out. It was going to start any minute (I thought). Sometimes, clouds rolled in and gave us a break from the heat. Most of the time, though, we were just standing there underneath the hot, hot sun. A few EMTs were running into the crowd to help people who were overheating. I thought I could make it.

One o'clock came and went. I started shaking and had to leave. I told Aminta to stay because she was doing OK. I left around 1:15pm and pushed my way through the crowd to the water station. People were exhausted from the heat and wait and were pretty hostile to me. I finally made it and poured cup after cup of water straight down my throat. After swallowing about a liter, I filled my cup and took it to the shade. I was so far back that I couldn't even see the stage. There was no way I could get back to Aminta.

This was my view after I left the stage area. Boo.

A few minutes later, they started announcing speakers. I sat near a speaker and listened to Senator Michael Bennet and Governor John Hickenlooper. I worked my way around the crowd, trying to find a spot where I could see the stage. I couldn't see anything. After a few more speeches, they announced President Obama. Everyone was so excited and cheering, but I was fighting back the hot tears in my eyes. Hours in the hot sun, waiting for that moment, and all I had was a speaker to stand next to to listen to him.

He gave a great speech. He talked about some of his experiences in Boulder. He talked about Obamacare and his work to help college students pay for school. It really was amazing, and I tried to appreciate being there, listening to the President live. I really am an optimist, but it was too hard for me to be optimistic. I was so disappointed.

Aminta got to see President Obama. She didn't have a camera but snapped a cool photo with her phone.

When the speech started to wind down, she came and found me near the back of the field. People back there were talking a lot, and we could no longer hear the speech. So, we decided to leave. On the way out, I was able to find a spot where I could see through the crowd to the stage. It sounds stupid, but I was so happy to at least get a glimpse of the President. I felt like I at least got something special from spending all day there. Here he is (under the tree), with my camera zoomed all the way in:

It was about 3pm when we left. We made our way to the car, stopping for a snack on the way because we hadn't eaten all day. It was a good thing we stopped because we got to see the President's motorcade drive by. One of the tinted cars had a flag with the Presidential seal. I assume it was President Obama in there. Pretty cool, huh?

I know I should be thankful that I got to be there in person to hear our President speak. I am trying to be. I'm sure once the pain of disappointment passes, I will feel glad I made it at all. In the meantime, though, I think I need to have one good cry. Then, it'll be back to volunteering this week! Who knows? Maybe there will be another chance to see the President speak. We are a swing state, after all!

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