Deb and I decided to try to see three candidates right after my plane arrived on Sunday noon. (We didn’t make it to the 3rd – Amy Klobuchar because room too packed.) We had looked at the list of who was in town – so we could basically go from one to the other on Sunday. I was still very open to several candidates – although Colorado doesn’t vote for several months so it really doesn’t matter at what point I make up my mind. Deb had been in the same situation a few weeks ago but went to a panel of 8 candidates and left, quite clear who she was going to back – Joe Biden.
So we started out with Pete Buttigieg. I’ve always liked him but I do want somebody more experienced. The sound system was difficult to hear since we were on the side – which surprised me since coming from the theater, everything would’ve been checked perfectly. He he always strikes me as a really good guy and very smart and I expect he will have a good political career and perhaps will run again in some years.
We next went to the Joe Biden rally. We immediately experienced a sense of excitement that surprised us. I always expect that excitement with a young candidate like Pete but this was a very different experience. Deb and I both felt it. Then I noticed that people in line were talking to each other in ways that had not happened in the past line.. I just wondered at first if I was a little more open because it was the second line we had stood inline, but I don’t think so. When we got inside and I looked over the crowd, I was surprised how diverse it was. Two issues I really really care about our equality and diversity and I did not expect to see this because Iowa is known as a very white state. I knew that most African-Americans support Joe but this was far more diverse than that – I saw some middle Easterners, Hispanics, people who were disabled such as in wheelchairs and with canes, and it wasn’t just a smattering of a few but it was a good number along with the number of us whites who were from many different ages.
Then I noticed something else. People were helping each other automatically and there was this sense of caring and kindness in that crowd. When I was climbing up the bleachers there were immediately people who put out their hand even without me asking because the. Bleachers were somewhat steep.. But it wasn’t one incident. People would be stepping down from a bleacher and somebody would have their hand out to help them on that last step. A man was opening up the wheelchair and immediately someone was there and asking if he could be of help and the man said “oh yes that would be great I was so hoping somebody could help me”. When we were standing outside and there was snow and ice and mud, people looked after each other to make sure people didn’t slip.
Then there were various people that came out and talked before Joe and Jill came out.. Jill talked for a few minutes first and Joe just stood back watching her and you could tell how devoted they were to each other. Joe’s sister spoke and then a former governor and some congresswomen etc. when Joe spoke, he’s very folksy which I like, and in comparison Pete looked rather corporate. Joe was very inspirational. At two points when he was speaking two people we couldn’t hear yelled out something. But it was an interruption. I don’t think it was profanity or anything like that and I don’t know if it was a question or comment, and the group was clearly not appreciative of the interruption. Now I remember in 2016 when this would happen at Trump rallies and Trump would suggest the guy be kicked out or be hit or… etc. Joe immediately said, “it’s okay. He’s okay.” It was a very respectful response. And then he went on.
But I noticed something else. There’s an idea in politics that the tone comes from the top – from the candidate or President. Abraham Lincoln talked about letting our better angels come out. There was something that happened in that rally that was very special and surprising to me. I actually felt kinder and I felt more hopeful and I felt inspired about our country and I felt like my better angels were coming out. I had found my candidate!
Deb said that I am allowed to observe the caucus tonight and go with her so I’m quite excited about that.