Curiosity overwhelmed me yesterday as I took the opportunity to attend a political function here in Port Saint Lucie. I'd heard that Mitt Romney was going to be here on his Victory Rally Tour, so after church was attended and the lawn was cut I grabbed my online ticket and headed on out.
The first thing I encountered was a bit eye opening. Two hours prior to the speaking engagement there was a traffic back up three lanes wide for two miles. Apparently this function was going to be well attended. So I battled my way through this inconvenience to find a parking place that was just a mile from the event. There were busses to shuttle the people, but it was a beautiful day and I was up for the walk. It really reminded me of going to a Dolphin's football game back in the day of the Orange Bowl, where most of the challenge is getting to the venue. The walk was worth the effort as I got to listen to different conversations and reflections of the attendees. I then was met by some crafty entrepreneurs who were selling election promotional paraphernalia. The venue had the same are as a live concert or a professional sporting event, and that's exactly why I chose to attend. When you hear a CD, or watch a game on TV, it doesn't have the feel for being at the live event. My hope was to get a feel for the heart of the speaker and to judge for myself. It was not a wasted effort!
After I made my way through airport type security, complete with TSA agents, I found myself once again in awe of my surroundings. The place was packed, the overflow was packed, and there was still a lengthly wait until the speech began. The crowd was diverse. There were seniors, bikers, minorities, families, college students, servicemen (current and retired), and some from the Birkenstock side of the fence. The place was crawling with media and cameras, who to no one's surprise seem to search out, interview, and photograph only the oddest of the bunch. I saw a man from the "Greatest Generation" proudly displaying his medals of combat in a frame, from the confines of his wheelchair. He would not be denied displaying his patriotism.
It became clear that this was a diverse crowd, and a large diverse crowd. Seniors were not buying the Meda-scare tactics, nor the threat of ending Social Security, as they were there in full force to support their candidate of choice. I saw a strong show of support from Catholics and other faiths adorning tee shirts saying, "I'm Catholic and I vote," or "I'm Christian and I vote." The place was filed with college age volunteers proudly wearing Romney/Ryan garb and assisting with any task at hand. Most importantly I saw families, lots of families! Parents felt safe bringing their children to this event, they also felt it important to expose their offspring to their values, and Mitt did not disappoint.
The campaign bus arrived, the speeches were made, and no one left disappointed. Well with the exception of the view. I'm sure by the craining necks there were a many who had hoped to get a better view, but the size of the crowd wouldn't allow for that. It's clear the Port Saint Lucie and the surrounding area is not a swinging vote. I was told there were 9000 in attendance, for a sleepy little retirement community, that's an outstanding turnout! One parting note; after all was said and done, the cleanup was minimal. Personal responsibility was apparent as most of the trash became trash, not litter.