I had the opportunity to go to the John Kerry for president rally in Portland today. It was quite the event with a few Bush supporters lurking among the thousands of Kerry supporters. The lines were long as I mingled with the Veteran’s for Kerry gang. Veterans and the alter-abled were allowed to enter the stage area on a shorter line while the general public waited in very long lines. People in wheel chairs were allowed to enter without waiting and were escorted to a shady lawn with chairs set up.
I was with the veterans, young and old. As we waited to enter I chatted with them, a group from Teamster’s for Kerry, and Oregon firefighters for Kerry. Veterans were shuffled up to the front of the stage and had the best seats, as they well deserve. As we waited for the speakers to begin I mingled around and ran into Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. I said "Hi", and showed him my "Bush is a Liar" bumpersticker. He smirked. Senator Ron Wyden came around shaking my hand and everyone elses. Very approachable.
The rally started with our Oregon democrats, Gov. Kulongoski, Wyden, Congresswoman Darlene Hooley and David Wu speaking. I was a few feet from the stage and had a great view. Next, Leonardo Dicaprio gave a nice little pro environment spiel to us outdoorsy Oregonians. Then Bon Jovi and Richard Sambora played a few songs. Shortly after that the Kerry/Edwards bus rolled in with John’s face out the window smiling and waving.
The whole event was signed for the hearing impaired. The lady who communicated with her hands was part of The Kerry team. Nice touch. The temperature was hot, in the 90’s, but bottled water was available everywhere. I was up front by the stage and since I am only 5’2" I wasn’t sure how large the turnout was. Talking later I found out that the whole grassy bowl below me was packed.
John Kerry and some of his family appeared on the stage next. His wife Teresa, a beautiful woman spoke in her mild mannered common sense fashion. Andre, her son spoke briefly. One of the Kerry daughters was there. I’m not sure which one. John Kerry was very charismatic. I loved it when he acknowledges the fast that us taxpayers pay his health insurance, so we should have the same level of coverage as our elected officials. Right On!.
My first presidential campaign rally and it was well worth my time. And after all that I find out that John Kerry is coming to Hood River, my town, to windsurf tomorrow. Any politician who can stand on one of those boards and manage not to be swept down river has my vote.
[Update: via a local windsurfing site: UPDATE 1- PROPOSED RIVER CLOSINGS FOR WILLAMETTE AND COLUMBIA RIVERS PORTLAND, Ore. - The Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies will be enforcing a security zone along parts of the Columbia River, Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. as a result of John Kerry's visit to the area. Below is a description of the revised security zone: The rectangular security zone at the Hood River in Oregon commences at the Marina Beach Jetty, traveling 300 yards west to a point on Marina Beach Park, 880 yards north into the Columbia River, 300 yards east, and 1075 yards south back to the Marina Beach Jetty. Boaters will be able to transit the northern portion of the Columbia River outside this zone. - 08/13 21:35]
[Update: via preemptive karma....
According to KATU News in Portland, the fire marshall shut down the entrance gates at Waterfront Park when the crowd reached 25,000. The fire department estimated that there were an additional 25,000 in the streets surrounding the park and on the Hawthorne Bridge. 50,000 people thirsting for leadership. Amazing.]
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