More specifically, I met Hillary Clinton today! About 12 hours ago. In retrospect, I find it kind of amazing that on a spur of the moment offer, I met the person who could possibly become the first female President of the United States, and still made it home to hear and watch the 2016 State of the Union address. So allow me to explain.
My job brings me into contact with a lot of different political organizations. If you are a fan of this blog, you’ll notice that I’ve never specifically said where I work. That is a conscious choice. That’s because this blog is about me…not about my professional life, and I don’t want to draw any direct ties to this blog and my job…because I will freely say that sometimes, I will say some blunt, dare I say, outlandish shit…and that is a reflection of me, and me alone. Yet, I digress…
…my job does bring me in contact with a variety of political organizations. One of those organizations, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence endorsed Hillary Clinton in her bid to be the 45th President of the United States. The Brady Campaign is a large organization, so the endorsement was unrolled and announced today at a Hillary Clinton rally in Ames, Iowa.
If you’re famiiar with politics, you’ll know that the Iowa Caucus is supremely important in presidential elections. Here’s an explanation of how the Iowa Caucus works, and why it’s so important, courtesy of How Stuff Works.
So, the Brady Campaign invited me and my coworkers to go to the rally, and have an opportunity to actually meet Hillary Clinton. For various reasons, my other coworkers were unable to make the trip, but being a man of adventure, I said what the hell, and on 2 hours notice, ran home, packed a bag, and found myself in a van with 2 strangers (Chapter Co-Presidents) and 2 workers I’m familiar with from Brady, on a 6 hour road trip from Chicago to Ames, Iowa.
We arrived at the Days Inn in Ames at about 2am. I got to my icy cold room about 2:30am. I jacked up the heater, broke out my clothes, ironed them, and then got to bed. Sleep remained elusive, and I got to sleep about 5am. My alarm went off at 7:30am…but I snoozed until 8. Got up, showered, and got myself looking good to be in the lobby by 8:30am. The rally was on the campus of Iowa State University. It was a small affair, a few hundred people, and felt quite intimate.
So, upon arrival, we were rushed into a room to await the arrival of Secretary Clinton for a brief photo-op.
So, let me say that when I agreed to the trip, I let the person who invited me know that I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. While I didn’t have any overt issues with Hillary, Bernie definitely appeals to me more so as a voter. I do know, and recognize, that Bernie has a checkered history as far as gun issues go, particularly his voting in favor of PLCAA. Senator Sanders stance on this issue has softened a bit over the past few months, and I anticipate will continue to soften. However, it is an issue.
But I will say that meeting with Hillary was a very pleasant experience. She’s very charming. I got the opportunity to shake her hand, and exchange plesantries for a few seconds. I like to meet politicians, because you can get a feel for who they are as people. Perhaps it’s aura…and I felt good about being near Hillary. As for hearing her speak…that was also an absolute pleasure.
She was introduced by Delphine Cherry, whom I rode to the rally with. Delphine is a mother who lost 2 of her 4 children to gun violence in Chicago…20 years apart. Tyesa and Tyler…she lost one in 1992, and the other in 2012. After Delphine, Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign offered the official announcement of their endorsement. It’s important to note that Dan also lost a brother to gun violence.
I really enjoyed Hillary’s comments. She’s very experienced in politics, and has a long history in Washington. She’s very witty, very charming, and it was nice to be in a place to see her personality shine through. See her smile, and cry, and laugh, and make jokes…those are the things I like to see in politicians. In addition to a politicians stances on issues, I want to know that they can connect with me as a person, because ultimately that is the only true way for them to identify with me and my issues, because after 20+ years in Washington, I think it’s hard for them to relate to me in terms of finance, or the daily struggles I see working 2 jobs to make ends meet.
Hillary started off echoing comments Dan Gross made, reminiscing on when Sarah and James Brady were still alive, and on the signing of the Brady Bill, which her husband also signed. She pointed out how the Brady Bill has prevented what some estimate in the millions of gun sales to individuals who should not have a gun.
As we’ve heard several times in the media as of late, she discussed how a majority of Americans, including gun owners, support common sense gun laws, and how we must continue to work to make sure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands. She joked on how she has a history of fighting special interest, and she’s not afraid to fight any corporate lobby, including the gun lobby. She offered a challenge, that “any politician who wants real change must stand against the gun lobby”. I really liked that point…I feel it’s very true.
She did go on to talk about a number of other issues. Education, economy, labor, unions…all of the issues which we’ve been hearing about in the news and debates. I enjoyed hearing her lay out her views on a litany of issues in-person, and I look forward to heairng more of her views in the next democratic debate, which I will be watching.
While I will still say that I am a Bernie fan, I can also say that I would feel completely comfortable supporting Hillary Clinton in her bid for President. At this point, I actually need to take some time, and do some more digging to discern which candidate best reflects my views. While many people are single issue voters, I am not. I really like Bernie’s talk on Wall Street, and what needs to be done to create greater parity between Wall Street and Main Street.
So the day was good. I’m glad I adventured, and met an important person. If you want to be powerful, you have to find yourself among powerful people. I’m starting somewhere I suppose.
Also, as a final note, I know in today’s age, unless you have a picture, it didn’t happen. Well, I learned a valuable lesson today: Never let anyone in the throes of fandom take pictures for you. I struck up a conversation with a beautiful young lady named Sarah, who is a huge Hillary fan. I asked her if she would take a picture for me using my phone. Well, I think she literally was trembling, because those pictures are blurrier than Mr. Magoo’s eyesight. However, they do exist. I also snuck a picture with Dan Gross.
Now to meet Bernie. Hmm….