I met Vice President Joe Biden today very briefly, but very wonderfully. A doctor in the crowd took a photo of VP Biden shaking my hand and talking to me (photo taken from over my left shoulder); she's supposed to email it to me. When she does, I'll include it here.
VP Biden took my hand and held it for 10-15 seconds while he spoke with another person (was I counting? No... was I noticing? YES!), then he looked at me and when I said, "God bless you; thank you for all you do for us," he responded, "Thank you, but you know we can't do any of it without you."
OK, I'm a goner. He's a real guy with a Gleem smile and a great heart.
I always presumed that, but being near him for about five minutes as I awaited my turn confirmed it for me... in the way that standing and watching DeForest Kelley for several minutes did it for me in 1968. I'm pretty intuitive from afar, but close up I can be almost psychic. Joe Biden and Patty Murray are the full meal deal; they don't just talk the talk; they walk the walk.
I drove to Tacoma to the Get Out the Vote Rally for Patty Murray and the DEMS on the UW Tacoma campus. Every notable Washington State DEM was there except Norm Dicks: the mayor of Tacoma, Senator Maria Cantwell, Governor Chris Gregoire, Adam Smith, Senator Patty Murray and VP Biden.
There was a huge turnout. I met up with friends in line and we got very close to the front of the audience; some of my group ended up in the "stands," the rest of us were within 20 feet of the podium... later I stood right next to the barrier, following all of the speeches, which is when "the moments" happened.
The speeches were great... Patty's speech was terrific... VP Biden's speech hit the event out of the ballpark and across Puget Sound, over the Olympic Peninsula and far out into the Pacific Ocean.
These people really care about the working middle class. I'm quite "up" on things; even so, some of what they said was just gut-wrenching. I wish I had it all on tape. It's in my heart lock, stock and barrel, but it would be nice to have the words playing in the background while I make phone calls to turn out the DEM vote.
The news media takes snippets of a rally -- sound bites -- and spends five seconds on those. Standing through an entire rally event and seeing the faces and watching others react whose lives have been impacted by the various problems makes us all one community, united in purpose and resolve.
Biden was riveting. I've heard lots of his speeches in bits and pieces but rarely one from beginning to end. This one was exceptional.
He and Patty "get it." They're both from working class families that fell on hard times and they realize the legitimate role of government in helping people survive through tough times. He spelled out what the Obama-Biden administration inherited (a helluva dangerous mess; my paraphrase, not his words) and what they've done to make sure the nation could survive the failed policies of the previous administration.
But then he drilled down, breaking the crises into bite-size chunks (foreclosures, upside down mortgages, failing banks, and all the rest) and put a human face on each of them. At every point, various event participants would call out, "That's right, Joe !! It happened to me!" "Me, too!" Suddenly we were all "family." And we're all hurting in one way or another.
Mostly we're scared about what will happen IF the GOP wins this year. They've promised, right out loud in front of cameras, that they'll keep doing what they've been doing... (OMG!!!!) and we're going through what that created right now! And even worse, with Tea Party aspects being added, it'll be even WORSE than before. Talk about the abuse of Big Government; they want to end abortion even in the case of rape and incest; repeal the Health Care Bill; give tax breaks to the wealthiest at the expense of the rest of us; and do literally dozens more anti-middle class dastardly deeds while having us foot the bill. It's craven. It's bizarre. It's twisted, wicked and awful.
But you know what? The rally wasn't primarily about the GOP; it was about US--about what we (you and I) can and must do between now and November 2nd to keep America from being railroaded toward another Great Depression and extreme social repression.
We need to pick up the phone and get out the vote.. talk to our neighbors, friends and families and get out the vote... Facebook and Twitter to get out the vote...work every moment we can to get out the vote.
Our future will be decided on November 2nd. The choice is clear to me: Fear and hate or faith and love. Faith and love is on our side. I saw that today in the eyes of the people who came. There were thousands of them... most will be joining us to get out the vote.
It's gonna be a wild ride. Buckle up. Let's see if America is ready to cave to fear or rally to further hope and progress. I'm praying without ceasing...
Links to more photos from today from the Tacoma News Tribune...