Posts Tagged ‘election 08’

I’ve never been to a political rally before.

I got an email the other night from VoteForChange that Barack and Michelle Obama were going to be speaking to voters in Downtown Miami at Bicentennial Park on Tuesday afternoon. CLEARLY I was excited. All of the fervent Obama supporters always say that he’s so inspiring and an amazing speaker and whatever whatever, and I was hoping to go down there and finally see for myself in person, since, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t yet been inspired by The Obama.

I like him, don’t get me wrong. And clearly he’s better than the alternative, but, I’m just sayin.

ANYWAY. The doors to the park opened at 3:45 and the Senator was scheduled to speak at 5:45. I guess I underestimated the amount of people who would be there. I arrived downtown exactly at 3:45, which was a bad idea since there was no parking ANYWHERE nearby. The garages and lots all hiked up their parking to $20 flat rate, and man, I am broke. After taking a look at the HUGE crowd gathered outside the park, and circling the area outside of Bayside like 5 times, I toyed with the idea of just going home. But NO. I was DETERMINED.

I finally found parking, at a meter on the beach, just about a mile away — literally. After an energizing walk to the park, I didn’t really know what to do or where to stand so I kinda just stuck myself on the first place I saw, as other people did the same around me. This was at already 4:45.


Imagine this scene, times about 7, and you will begin to understand just how many people were standing OUTSIDE of Bicentennial Park as of 4:45.

By the time any of us found out that we wouldn’t be able to make it INSIDE the park because it was already full, there were so many hundreds of people crowded behind us that it was near impossible to escape the mob. Optimistic, however, I figured maybe we’d be able to get close to the gates and see at least SOMETHING. I am a determined blogger.

However, that was not really the case. Boo. LONG story short, a few hundred of us did make it into the park by around 6:15 and were IMMEDIATELY directed to the exit.

This was about as close as I got to seeing Barack Obama all day. Oh well!

This was about as close as I got to seeing Barack Obama all day. Oh well!

Overall, I’m glad to see how many people were there to support Obama. I think I heard somewhere that there were just about 30,000 people in attendance. I think that may have been in addition to the couple thousand of us standing outside, plus the people in the condos who snuck into balconies to watch from above.

Am I inspired yet? Ehhh, we’ll see. But it’s comforting to know how many people in my city are over this current administration and are ready for — dare I say? Ready for Change.

Some other highlights:

Really? At least they spelled Repudiate properly....

Really? At least they spelled Repudiate properly....

The other side of the sign

The other side of the sign said "GOD BLESS YOUR GRANDMOTHER," of course in reference to Obama temporarily taking a break in Honolulu to visit with his Grandmother, whose health is has been reported as fragile as of late. It was sweet.

A bit of the aftermath.

A bit of the aftermath.


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It started on a Thursday afternoon. Location: Internet.

I was chillin at home, playing on GTI when I noticed this thread: Celisse, are you going? It beckoned to me. Hena had just informed me that one of my favorite people in music, Jay Z, was playing a free show in Miami — a voter registration rally for the Barack Obama campaign. I was immediately thrilled.

For those of you who don’t know, I am obsessed with Jay Z. I do not know why, it’s rather inexplicable, and totally hopeless. My headline on this blog comes from my favorite song by him. In fact, just a few hours before the thread in question, I had just posted an entry on OlyVil about My Favorite Hustla and My Favorite Hottie. It was kind of kismet.

I could pick up tickets to the show at any of the South Florida Vote for Change offices, and I was already planning to get up early the next day and pick up my own free pair of tickets for the Sunday night show at Bayfront Park, and also get some questions answered about the status of my registration (which is valid, thank goodness).

I failed to realize, however, that the tickets were being given out on THURSDAY, and it was already THURSDAY NIGHT. I had missed my chance! I immediately turned to The Craigslist to see if anyone was selling theirs. The prices for the FREE SHOW were outrageous. The cheapest I saw them was for $125 each. The most expensive? $400 each. For a FREE. SHOW. These people were clearly insane.

Refusing defeat, I decided that I’d spend Friday morning calling all 13 of the South Florida Obama offices, in the unlikely event that one of them was hiding some extra tickets someplace. The first three I called didn’t have any tickets. Four more offices didn’t even answer. But, one shining, gleaming little office in Hollywood gave me the news I might have wanted to hear: They didn’t have any more tickets for Sunday night. BUT. BUT BUT BUT!. The demand was so great, that Hov’ added a Monday afternoon show, and there would be tickets available for that on Saturday morning, and I could definitely get some if I came before 10am. WHAT?

The whole thing seemed pretty unbelievable. Was there really a second show added? I’d heard someplace that Jay Z was playing a regular show on Monday night in Tampa. A free Monday afternoon show seemed almost too good to be true. So I used the power of the Google, and found out that the news was TRUE, and that there was a second show added and that, provided I got to the office before they were out of tickets, I’d still have a chance to see my favorite rapper at an Obama rally in just a few days!

Nothing was going to stop me, not even the torrential rains that covered South Florida all weekend. Saturday morning came quickly, and I woke much earlier than I’ve been used to lately, and made my way to the Hollywood office. I got there at the same time as 4 other people, and we started the line outside the humble little door, where light rain turned into steady rain which turned into heavy rain. And there we stood, hoodies covering our heads, umbrellas dripping around us, for TWO HOURS, as the line grew longer and rowdier and more wet.

I’m going to skip the long and mostly unrelated story about the ASSHOLES that got there after we did who literally cut in line in front of us, one of whom was rude enough to block my way through the door before SLAMMING IT IN MY FACE, and just skip to the part where a sopping wet me excitedly gets my tickets, and made my way home to dry off and take a much needed nap.

I GOT MY TICKETS. All of my friends, and most of the internet knew about it, and I could not wait for Monday afternoon to come.

And it did come. I woke again, too early for my tastes, and headed to M’s house, totally ridiculously excited. The bad weather had finally passed over the Magic City and it was a sunny, INCREDIBLY hot day. We made our way to downtown, spent entirely too long finding parking, and walked hurriedly down the street to Bayfront Park.

There were tons of rally workers, rushing to get everyone registered to vote today, the last day to do so here in Florida. I wasn’t worried. M and I were already registered and have been for a while. But seeing the efforts made us feel a sense of.. pride? We’re not sure. But we did comment to each other that it was really cool to be at a rally, the first one either of us had been to before. Seeing Jay Z was just a bonus.

Only somewhat surprisingly, considering the day and time of the show, the place wasn’t nearly as packed as it was on Sunday night, the show that I missed out on. But I was fine with that, it meant I got to be closer to the stage to get some good pictures. We found some good, albeit burning hot seats right in the middle of the amphitheatre and sat down, and proceeded to sweat our entire faces off for the next half hour.

It was 12:30pm by the time we sat down, which was when the show was scheduled to start. It was going to begin any minute, and we were totally excited to be there. But 12:30 quickly became 12:40, which quickly became 12:45, which quickly became 1:00pm, and that’s when an Obama came out and told us the news:

I’m so sorry to tell you all this, but the show last night was such a phenomenal success that Jay Z actually strained his vocal muscles, and while he’s been with his doctors all morning, they advised him not to perform for this show. But please don’t hesitate to get registered and ….

From there, her voice was muffled by the roaring groans of the disappointed crowd. Wait, disappointed? I mean PISSED OFF. My friend and I lifted our hot, sweaty bodies off the benches we were sitting upon and joined the mass of people angrily stomping out of the park. Rally workers were still calling out to people to get registered, but they were met with the jeers and shouts of a livid crowd shouting back at them: “FUCK VOTING. FUCK THIS SHIT.”

M and I were pretty horrified, even though we were angry, and we got out of there as quickly as possible, stopping in Bayside to cool ourselves down in the pretty, air-conditioned shops throughout the mall by the bay.

We made it back to my car, and, kinda dejected (at least on my part) went back home, feeling our day was wasted. We could have been sleeping! Ugh.

So, I guess, some notes for the future:

  • Don’t get excited for free shows
  • Don’t bother trying to get tickets to free shows, especially if it means standing in the rain (I feel a heinous cold coming on, man.)
  • Always bring plenty of water
  • Beware of scary angry people

This was so typical. THANKS A LOT, LIFE.

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