As a political junkie, I’d hoped to see a presidential candidate campaign in Iowa at the same time I visited my grandparents over the holidays.
Senator Barack Obama was in Nevada at 1:15 p.m. Dec. 27. Perfect. It was on the route to Grandma’s house and the timing was impeccable. Deal.
My brother, Luke, and I arrived in the small town 45 minutes before the rally, but I typed the wrong directions into Mapquest. (Nice work, idiot.)We didn’t know where we were going, but Nevada is small so it wouldn’t be difficult to find where a possible future leader of the free world would be, or so we thought.
The first Iowan we asked was a electrical worker. He stared at me blankly when I said, “Do you know where Barack Obama is speaking today?”
He had no insight. Thanks, buddy.
The next eligible voter I asked was a delivery guy at Casey’s convenience store. He looked puzzled as if he’d never heard of Obama. With a box in tow, he directed me inside to the cashier.
The young red-vested lady behind the counter knew who he was — confirming I wasn’t on Mars — but she didn’t know the location of the rally. She gave vague directions to the high school.
Nevada High School was deserted, but a bundled, middle-aged gentleman was leaving the post office. He was flabbergasted, as if I asked him for the meaning of life.
At the end of the street was a city worker. Surely, he would know. Yet a befuddled response ensued. But he called city hall and the receptionist said Obama would be at the elementary school. The city worker gave us directions.
For those scoring at home, the noxious number was:
The opportunity to personally meet a future president should be embraced. To hear them speak to your quaint, small town should be cherished. Instead, it was ignored. Roughly 10 percent of Iowans caucus and that is a shame.
Their ignorance proved to benefit my brother and I. We sat in the third row and I got to shake the senators hand before his speech.
(While my brother took a picture of my back. Yet, I can’t complain. He was willing to do it, while forsaking the chance to shake his hand. What a good bro. Now sarcasm: Special thanks to WordPress for not allowing me to upload it!)
The 300-person rally in the school’s commons was the third political rally I’ve attended — and by far the best. I saw vice-presidential candidates John Edwards in Maple Grove and Dick Cheney in Duluth prior to the 2004 election. Both were larger in scale. Edwards had become stale like his running mate, John Kerry, and Lynn Cheney was present so Dick looked human.
Obama spoke eloquently, albeit from a stump speech. He was poised, articulate, mixed in occasional and innocent jokes, and used inflection was necessary.
He isn’t my candidate, but it was impossible not to be inspired by his avuncular persona. There is no fear and loathing on his campaign trail.
Too bad the well-meaning people of central Iowa missed out.