Guest blogger: Michael. (Kimberlee is busy with Saturday Night Bath.)
How would you feel if you had to spend over an hour waiting and walking in a line that was over a half mile long? And this after first walking from the car to the front of the line, following your way along the line, around corners that always promised to be "the end of the line", until finally reaching the end of the line - which happened to be near the car? We were thrilled! And so was everyone else standing in line for the rally with us.
The show of support for Sarah Palin was overwhelming. The people in the line were genuinely friendly and cheerful - happy that McCain/Palin has not given up on Pennsylvania, in spite of the polls. This is, after all, the state that elected pro-life Democrat Bob Casey and pro-choice Republican Tom Ridge to the Governor's office. This is truly a battleground state, even though polls show Pennsylvania as being as "blue" as California right now (ha!). Other than the cities, particularly Philadelphia and Pittsburg, the state is very conservative. This is a state where Catholics can make a difference, if only they can be made aware that Barack Obama has a radically pro-choice view of the world, and that John McCain and Sarah Palin have both demonstrated their personal and political commitment to a culture of life!
There were, of course, protestors along the way. All of them (I counted 20, plus two dogs) are shown in the photo below. People in line were amused by the red sign in front of the protestors :-)
The protestors were not a happy lot, as you can see from the signs that they carried. But the media was there to get "both sides of the story" - the 20 protestors, and the thousands of supporters of McCain/Palin!
We were in time to hear some of the live musical performances - minus Jonathan's stainless steel thermos that looked too much like some type of explosive device. (We missed the hot tea!) For some reason, most people packed the seats in the stadium and did not go down to the field. After sitting in the stands for about a minute, we went down to be in the middle of things!
Eliza danced on the round tarp that covered home plate:
From time to time, she would take a sign (the thing to do at a rally), and walk or sit with the sign until she decided it was time to dance again!
Here is Eliza holding a big sign, apparently the center of the whole show.
The "center of the show" was, of course, Sarah Palin, who spoke from a podium at first base. Her standard stump speech was well received. Lines about "drill, baby, drill" and promoting "clean coal" (certainly a big issue in these parts) were applauded, but not with the same enthusiasm that Sarah got when she started talking about Special Needs children.
Here is the text of the pro-life part of Sarah Palin's speech:
John and I have talked a lot about the missions that he’d like me to focus on with him and ... government reform, energy independence being top of the list, but another mission too he’d asked me to lead on. I’m so honored and privileged to be able to do so. That’s an issue that is close to my heart and that’s to help our families who have children with special needs.
It was a Pennsylvania governor, Robert Casey, he was asked how society should treat those who are most vulnerable among us, including children with special needs, and the governor said, “It’s simple - you put them first in line.” Governor Casey understood that children with special needs can inspire a special love, and I am convinced that that is a love that our country needs more of.
These children are not a problem, they are a priority.
We need to show them the good heart of America. You know as Governor I have sought more funding, succeeded there in funding for our children in our schools with special needs, but we’ve got to do more than that in showing that good heart of America. As Vice President I’m going to make sure that these children, that all our families know that they have a friend and an advocate in the White House.
Thankfully we have pro-life candidates who share our most important values. It is great to be able to take our children to a political event every four years, to develop within them a desire to be a part of the political process in America. And thankfully Kimberlee will not have to run for President or VP this year, as suggested by some commenters to a previous post. There is already a pro-life young mother of many children, including a special needs child, who is on the ticket!
After the rally, Eliza was happy to make "angels" in the perfectly-grained dirt between the bases while the rest of the family tried to get as close as possible to Governor Palin.
Kimberlee and the girls (minus Eliza) got very close, but not quite close enough for a hand shake or an autograph. Sigh!
Mary Rose was very disappointed that she did not get to meet Sarah Palin. I told her that if she wants to, maybe Mary Rose will one day be President. And then we will all be able to shake her hand, hug her, and sit down together for tea!