Last Friday night, I received yet another email from the Democratic Party in regards to you know what. President Clinton in the subject, I decided to take a look. He would actually be stopping at the Junior High I went to school over 30 years ago in Somers to rally support for Sean Maloney in the upcoming House race against Nan Hayworth. I sent an email hoping to attend as press, and almost before I slogged through all my meaningless Facebook posts, I realized I was going to see the president.
Yes, I was excited. Of course, I told my mom, and she obviously thinking I’d be having a sit down with the 42nd president, instructed me to dress nice. The obedient son, I put on a jacket and a tie.
In accordance, I guess you could say, about 10 press members were led in first. Seated at the center of the gym and roped off in full view, I felt kind of important. You have no idea, but I will get back to that.
My first impression of this opportunity was to take a much longer historical view. Throughout history, they’re have been leaders – for better and worse – who possess the skill to move the masses with the sheer charisma of their words, mannerism and downright Mojo. No matter your perspective, Bill Clinton is one of those people.
We’ve all seen him on TV but I was going to witness this live and would get a small sense of how a Roosevelt, Churchill, or yes, a Lenin type, mobilized their followers into a wall of allegiance.
On the other hand, like the Chappaqua master himself, I do like to work the room in my own right. And I ain’t bad at it.
Following my instincts, I began to make my way out of the roping to engage. I was greeted by a menacing look, turned back to my enclosure and told my natural mingling sensibilities were a secret service issue.
I didn’t feel so important anymore. I soon jumped to the conclusion that since I was in the press, they didn’t want us getting close enough to question the featured guests. What other explanation could there be - given all the other attendees who had also simply sent an email.
What I found was that the people present were all part of larger invited groups like union members or other supporters whose origins and backgrounds could be traced back to a source. Off that, I decided there was credibility to the security claim.
But upon further reflection, I felt this was too convenient an excuse and the campaigns simply use this type tactic and rationale to further the fiction that has become our political system. I’m also relatively certain the Secret Service is familiar with a little known security procedure called Frisking.
Deferring my disappointment in the sorry state of our republic, I was still excited to see President Clinton. Unfortunately, rushed by the urgency and time constraints of the election schedule, his appearance was quite brief and not necessarily revealing enough for my grand historical expectations.
That doesn’t mean the sitting House member escaped unscathed – the best zinger arriving at the expense of her opposition to President Obama’s healthcare initiative. “Nan Hayworth wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “I know doctors in her own group plan who treat me and they disagree with her.”
President Clinton then went onto outline the easy choice represented between Sean Maloney and a Nan Hayworth bound to the unyielding whims of the Tea Party. “Congress is a job. It means methodology over ideology and arithmetic over illusion. It’s not complicated so go out and win it for Sean Maloney.”
The dude can orate, and the fact that a campaign fears the possibility of someone like me interrupting a stream of consciousness such as his means only one thing. Our election process has become nothing more than an infomericial where the leaders have the questions and refuse to utter anything that deviates into the uncomfortable truths that we already know.
That keeps us from getting to what we really need to address and confront as a nation.
All told, I’m just glad I didn’t have to pee.