Friday, June 03, 2016

Hillary in Culver City

Hillary Clinton, fighting for us
Tim woke me at 6AM.

“Hillary Clinton is speaking in Culver City today,” he casually mentioned.

“WHAT?!?!?” I yelled, leaping out of bed to check the computer.

Sure enough, she was appearing at West L.A. College, just a mile from where we live. Doors were opening at 8:30AM. The computer asked me to RSVP. I clicked YES, hoping it wasn’t too late. (How did I not know about this sooner?) Tim, who never attends political rallies, also RSVP’d after I told him the rally was free.

Our next decision: How to get there? We decided to walk and so left the house at 7:30AM. We followed the line of cars onto campus and knew we were in the right place when we saw media vans huddled around the gymnasium. A short line (mostly women) waited to get in. We stood at the end. “I hope more people show up,” Tim whispered.

 Media vans on West L.A. campus

For the next hour, we watched as campaigners and media outlets worked the line. California’s primary election is in four days, so people were needed to staff Hillary phonebanks this weekend. The woman behind us signed up. Several reporters had microphones ready to interview anyone who looked intelligent enough to talk about the election. We were interviewed by both John Baird, from all-news radio station KNX (my favorite!), and a French cameraperson, who freelances for CNN.

At 9AM, we started heading toward the gym doors. We entered the building only after going through a metal detector. A large hand-scrawled sign indicating RESTROOMS pointed to the left. We stepped right into the gym. The space was small.

“I’ve never been this close to Hillary before!” the phonebank woman exclaimed. 

 Happy to be inside the gym

Everyone was ecstatic. Tim found a place to sit, while I staked out a spot to stand on the floor. We ended up back by the media cameras, a half-court away from the dais. We then waited another hour as more people piled in. Loud music, controlled by a female DJ, blasted overhead. Today’s theme was all about woman power!

 Tim in front of media cameras

At 10:20AM, the first of several (10? 15?) women told us why she was voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The speakers were appropriately diverse: white, Hispanic, African-American, transgender, politicians, two different union leaders, and several celebrities, including Mary Steenburgen, Debra Messing, Elizabeth Banks, and Sally Field. Each spoke for about 5 minutes. Their message was not new, but their delivery was invigorating (lots of talk about love, interestingly enough). The main objective was to energize the base. We were obviously already on board—it was now our task to convince others.

 Elizabeth Banks speaking, Debra Messing at far right

Hillary finally emerged at 11:30AM. As usual, she was lovely, energetic and committed, speaking in support of families, healthcare, gun control, and education. The crowd went wild. She spoke for about 10 minutes before joining the audience to shake hands. By then, about 1000 people had jammed into the gym—no way would we get close enough to shake her hand—and so we headed home. 

 Hillary on the dais

Me with Hillary in the background
Now on to the White House!

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