Well, sort of.
After going to the Rick Santorum rally, we wondered why we hadn't gone to Ron Paul's, since we actually like him. He had been in Nashua and Manchester, and Josh had considered trying to go to the Primary party, but figured we couldn't get in. After looking into it, he decided to go for it, and, after debating a little, I decided to join him. After all, I had never been to a primary party- you know, the stuff you always see on TV where the candidate makes a speech to their supporters or decides to throw in the towel. I always thought it was weird how many people went to the "celebrations" of the people who didn't stand a chance. What are they celebrating?
Well, now I'm one of those people, and I get it.
Josh and I amidst a LOT of people
Here's the view I saw when I walked in- just tables of people sitting on laptops, watching numbers, tweeting, etc, in the middle of fans/supporters fighting through more fans/supporters. To my left was a bar, which weirded me out until I remembered that this was a "party." What better thing to get people riled up and in the mood to cheer than booze?
We got about as close as we could get to the stage, and to my left was a billion cameras- just a wall of media all taking the same video and the same pictures. We stood next to what we decided were Swedish supermodel sisters. They were super into us.
"I want the fat one with the beard"
It was quite the atmosphere in there- chants would suddenly burst out of nowhere, such as "President Paul!" and my favorite, "END THE FED." It was odd at first, but then quickly awesome. It was hard to not get caught up in it- just people waiving flags and chanting to destroy the federal reserve. A DJ played the songs you'd expect at something like this, including several plays of this, which is apparently Ron Paul's unofficial anthem. I hadn't heard it, but Josh was super into it.
It was all pretty neat.
I wanted to punch the obnoxious hipster with the blue glasses so bad
Obnoxious media kept pushing their way through us- you couldn't move anywhere and these people were carrying ridiculously huge cameras and trying to get that hot interview. They approached a guy behind me because he was tall, and after joking about how he was easy to find and him saying he didn't want to be interviewed, the idiot reporter just started asking him questions with the camera on. After he made a mean face and turned away, she got a guy wearing a Veterans For Paul shirt. I felt pretty weird taking a picture of myself while a TV interview was happening right behind me. Such is the world of primary parties.
Eventually, after some waiting (we got there too early), Ron's whole entourage got on stage and this guy talked:
I'm not sure who he was, but he was great. He made jokes, was very laid back and real, and just talked about the campaign and Ron Paul. It was all what you'd expect- that they hadn't slept in forever, that it was a long road, that we're gonna show them, etc. Then someone else important spoke and was a bit boring. Then ole' Ronnie himself came out to insane cheers.
I was instantly struck with just how old he looked. It shouldn't have surprised me- he's not THAT made up on TV, but still- just seeing him in person was like "wow, he really is a 76 year old man." But as soon as he started talking with that squirrely voice of his, stuttering his way through some jokes (thanking a newspaper for not endorsing him) and getting fired up on the things he gets fired up about, I forgot his age and the fact that he doesn't stand much of a chance of winning. It slowly became clear to me that he probably isn't stupid and knows that he isn't going to win. I started to feel that this was more about sending a message and starting something- that he has already gotten millions of people talking about things that nobody was talking about a decade ago, and that he got young impressionable people to think differently about money, taxes and foreign policy. If anything, he's made a different, less party-oriented way of thinking much more mainstream.
It was great to listen to him and see how psyched people got about the things he was saying. He's not perfect, and I don't agree with him on everything. I'm not going to even pretend that I know his stance on everything or fully understand some of the things he's talking about. But what I do understand, I can get behind. It was great to listen to a politician speak and actually believe what he was saying, actually trust him, and not see him as "another politician" (see my last post), but more of a revolutionary- someone who is starting something that is much bigger than him and could actually change things in the future. This wasn't a "well, I placed second, that's pretty good!" celebration- this was more of a "there is hope for the future" celebration.
Clearly, I got caught up in it, and soon enough, Josh and my joking, "everyone else is doing it, let's join in!" chants became a lot more real. What was an interesting, "good blog content" event became something that was actually really cool.
It's fun to imagine the sounds that are coming out of him
The only annoying thing other than being surrounded by 28398 people and it being 23872832 degrees in there was just how many pictures and video were being taken at all times. I was doing it too (and even took some for the super short lady behind me), but this was my view most of the night:
Here's the whole entourage. I thought the chick on the far right was pretty hot.
He's clearly saying "EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
When it was done, most people seemed like they were going to kick around for awhile. Josh and I got the hell out of there as fast as we could.
ARG! I HATE CROWDS!
This is how crowded it was:
As we left, Josh shook some guy's hand and had a brief chat. I figured he knew him. Josh said that as he was walking out, he saw the guy looking at him, speaking to someone on a walkie, saying stuff like "him? ok, yea, I see him." He then introduced himself as someone from NPR (I guess they like weirdos), and started in with an impromptu interview. He led with the hard-hitting "so what brings you here?" and Josh pretty much immediately declined the interview. I told him he should have said something stupid or something along the lines of "well, did you see that guy who just talked for 20 minutes? His name is Ron Paul and this is his rally/primary party. I like him, so I wanted to hear him speak." He just wanted to get the hell out of there and head to our other destination for the night, a little place called Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
The closest one we have is an hour away, and we figured if we couldn't get in to the party, we could at least get Five Guys. Turns out the gods were in our favor, and we got both. Soooo good. A perfect ending to an interesting and surprisingly pretty cool night.
currently listening to: Final Days Society- "Ours Is Not A Caravan Of Despair"