You know what I’m about to say: no writing last night. Usually because Friday night is Recap Night, and I should have written a Sense8 recap. Notice I said “should”. That’s because I didn’t do any writing. And why?
I went to a Hillary Clinton rally.
Harrisburg was one of the stopping points for the Clinton campaign last night, and as the rally was only a thirty minute walk from my apartment I decided that, yes, I wanted to go she her. I have a vested interest in the election this year, and I feel it’s my duty to see to it that the Seventh Seal of the Apocalypse isn’t opened by putting a guy openly embracing fascism in to a position of power. Plus, this year I’m in the bag for Hillary, so I figured, well, why not go? I’ve never been to one of these thing before, and it’ll be fun. Remember this last line, ’cause…
Right after work I went home and did my shot, then changed bags. The Secret Service wasn’t letting people in with big bags, so I pulled out one that only carried my keys, wallet, and phone. Then down to the streets and the almost-thirty minute walk to get in line.
And, yeah: there was a line.
This was when I first approached the area, and you can see the TSA scanners in the middle of the pictures. Everyone going in got scanned for obvious reasons. But this wasn’t the back of the line. That was, um, in the back.
This is where I ended up, where I sort of cut in line close to a couple of people I somewhat knew: someone from my trans support group, and Dr. Rachel Levine, the states Physician General. So I sort of slid into position and acted natural. Did I feel bad about this? No. Let’s move on.
Now to give you a bit of an idea of the set up last night, here’s a Google Map of the area:
The building on the right just below the “Broad Street Market” marker is where the rally was being held. And where I was standing when I took the picture above? Look down 3rd Street to the left and you’ll see Brother’s Pizzeria. I was standing right in front of that place. Oh, and Brother’s actually locked their doors right about the time I got in line because they were almost out of pizza dough due to people in line running in to get slices. Hungry business, these political rallies.
Oh, and I shot video while in line:
When I shot the above it was about 6 PM/18 hours, and we wouldn’t get to the check points for about another ninety minutes.
And this part, standing in the sun, was the worst. It was close to 90 and the humidity was up, so it was unpleasant. I wore a light top, capri jeans, and sandals. I did my best, I assure you, to keep the internal heat down, and I was sweating like crazy.
Finally we get through the checkpoints–I set off the alarm like I always do, there must be too much iron in my blood–and we headed into the rally area.
That woman standing on the podium is where the speaking would take place, and Hillary’s bus would park behind her for a great back drop. There were camera podiums behind and to the right of me in the picture, and the Broad Street Market is on the left.
The area for the rally wasn’t large–here’s the layout:
The black line is where people were gathered. The speaker’s podium is right where it says “St” for N 3rd St, and the blue rectangle is where the bus parked for a nice backdrop. I decided I wanted to get as close as possible and found myself right below that N 3rd St marker, and waited.
I had a great spot, I was ready to get picture, I was ready to listen to the message.
And then… shit took a turn for the worst.
I started getting short of breath. Then I started feeling light headed. Then my hands were shaking. And I had trouble thinking. And I felt sick to my stomach–
If you’re thinking, “Sounds like Cassidy’s about to pass out,” you win Final Jeopardy! I actually managed to sit down in the crowd before I went over, which I knew was coming. Someone called the paramedics–who, by the way, were working their asses off–and they helped me get about half-way to the cooling area. And by half-way, I mean everything started turning gray about that time and they got me a chair pronto because I was about to pass out. I sat there for about five to ten minutes recovering, and my biggest fear was if I passed out I was going to loose my bowels, because I felt like that was going to happen. No way did I want that.
I finally got to the cooling area, and joined the other people there–
Who pretty much all happened to be women about my age. There was a time back before I started on the estrogen trip that I may have been able to tough out this stuff, but not now. I sat and cooled off, had my blood pressure taken–I was told it was way down, which is why I was passing out–sipped water while I got my color back, and adjusted to my new view:
And as the speakers came on I shot more video:
Now, given where I was, I didn’t get any good shots of the speakers. The best I could do was this:
The best came out grainy and overexposed. However! I ran into a friend, and she not only manage to get better pictures, but she messaged them to me at the rally. That means I got–
Bill Clinton doing all the introductions and being about as charming and articulate as always.
Tim Kaine doing the next introduction and actually being pretty funny as he got in a lot of digs on–well, that other guy. And after about ten minutes that led to him introducing the speaker of the night:
So what did Hillary say? She touched on funding infrastructure and a smart energy grid and renewable energy, all of which are close to my heart as I love stuff like that. She talked about working to make it so people could refinance and reduce debt on existing student loans, and work towards making tuition not only affordable, but something you’re not going to have hanging around your neck forever. A better program with less red tape for small businesses, and more apprenticeship programs for skilled trades, which is something that has slowly vanished with the decline in unions. (I’ve been in both the United Steel Workers and United Auto Workers, and I saw a lot of apprenticeships in each of the locations where I worked.) And more funding and support for teachers, because without education, we’re really nothing.
It was a good time all around, even if I couldn’t get in close to the stage to see, I could hear, and that was really why I was there–
Well… not the only reason.
As soon as the speech was over a lot of people filed out, and a lot of people made their way forward to shake hands with the candidates. And I wanted to do the same. So I went back into the crowd feeling light-headed and a little ill, and pushed through until I was up near the front, in the area that everyone would pass before heading back into the bus. Which, by the way, was right there in front of me.
So I waited about ten minutes, pressed between two guys far bigger than me, and Hillary came around the corner. She was shaking hands and taking selfies with people, and seemed in good spirits even though she had to be hotter than hell in her pink suit. (I said later that I should have told her it’s now Wednesday, ’cause us Mean Girls understand what that means.)
And right on time, here she comes. And the meeting went like this:
Me: “Madam President!” *holding out hand* (Yes, I said that. Don’t care.)
Hillary: “Hello!” (Now I’m left-handed, so I had my left hand out and she switched quickly from her right to left.)
Me: “Madam President, can I have a picture with you?”
Hillary: “Oh, sure!”
At this point I start to stick the phone out, but because I’m in a bad position, she actually asks for my phone and hand it to an aid and says, “She’ll take our picture.”
And she did:
Yeah, I look like a seal just come out of the water expecting a fish, and because of all the bright lights from the media platform behind us it’s not the best, but still: I have this, and it shows I met someone who has an excellent chance at being president. I was also blabbering like an idiot because I get that way with people I admire.
About thirty minutes later, when I was up cooling off in front of the capitol building, I saw their convoy heading out of town: three buses, a whole lot of Secret Service SUVs, and a police escort. I got home and hit the shower ’cause I was a sweaty mess. And though I didn’t get to bed until midnight because even though I was tired and sore and felt a little like I’d been hit a couple of times in the head and stomach, I was still in good moods, because I was riding a high–
The one that comes when you feel like you’ve somehow touched history in the making.