Home
Loading
  Contact Us    
Why Kerry?

A very good time at a rally for John Kerry.

by Everett Wilson
July 18, 2004

Bookmark and Share


"Friday night on a farm in Bloomer, Wis., (pop. 3,364) surrounded by a green sea of knee-high rows of corn, Kerry rolled up his sleeves and delivered a 35-minute stump speech to 5,000 flag-waving supporters.

At sunset, he accompanied a harmonica-playing congressman amid the percussive barrage of fireworks, strumming his guitar onstage to the folk tune "This Land is Your Land." He stayed for more than an hour after the event, signing autographs and shaking hands, which some in attendance said they appreciated. The only visible dissent was a Bush sign placed in a field on the horizon."

--Washington Post, July 4

During the Friday evening local news a week ago, a little after six o'clock, I heard the announcement that John Kerry was scheduled to speak at 8:00 to a rally just twenty-five miles away, in a farmyard near Bloomer, Wisconsin. It had not occurred to me that I would have a chance to "see for myself" but it took me less than a minute to decide to go. As I changed into long pants—for mosquito protection, not formality, because the rally was in a farmyard--Donna made me a sandwich. Then I lit out.

The sun was still high when I got there before seven o'clock. I didn't know the farm, but I knew the church adjacent to it because our community choir had sung its Easter concert there last year. Already the cow pasture behind the church and stretching toward the farmstead was filling up with hundreds and hundreds of cars. After being directed to a parking spot--it was a very large pasture--I attached myself to the end of a line, about four abreast and a quarter of a mile long, leading to the farmstead. I had thought to bring my cane, a mixed blessing; it is invaluable when standing for a long period, but I had to be careful not to penetrate with it one of the numerous cowpies on our route.

The security check was about as detailed as at an airport.

Several thousand people were there; later estimates ranged from five to six thousand, about twice the population of Bloomer. My companions in line introduced themselves by saying they had driven a hundred miles to come.

The event organizers expected a large crowd, given the ample parking, the uniformed security agents, and the number of volunteers (One of them even offered to find me a seat because of my cane; but it is a walking stick, not a necessity, so I said no). There were a great many opportunities to buy Kerry tee shirts, buttons, and playing cards, but I passed on those. There aren't many places for a conservative pastor of a conservative rural church to wear a partisan button. I can and do wear a Peanuts tee shirt, but a Democratic symbol would be hard for some of my congregation to swallow.

I was a bit disheartened when the warm-up speakers resorted to tired cliches like "saving the family farm," but that portion of the program didn’t last long. Family farms are indeed worth saving, but if we could have we would have, thirty-five years ago. After the pre-lims, the Rally got down to business.

Wisconsin does well on Capitol Hill. Both Dave Obey, a senior member of the House of Representatives, and Russ Feingold, dubbed by some (not all!)  "the conscience of the Senate," were present at the Rally, along with Congressman Ron Kind and Governor Jim Doyle. I loved Feingold’s comment about Kerry, as did the audience in general. Feingold had voted against the war in Iraq, while Kerry had voted for it. Kerry had changed his mind when he saw how the President was handling it. The Republicans were making hay of this change of mind. Feingold said, "They call it flip-flopping, but I call it maturity."

Finally it was Senator Kerry's turn. He was good: good at relating to an audience, clear in articulation, specific in his imagery. It was no doubt his "stump speech," but he knew how to put it across without bluster or talking down to his hearers. He said a lot more things I agree with than I don't, all of them pertaining to necessary changes in the Executive Branch.

There was substance. Contrary to the cynical statement, "If you can fake sincerity, you can fake anything," it is actually very difficult to fake sincerity. And even if it were a show without substance, as opponents inevitably say, it was still a better show than is now playing in The White House. From the moment Kerry took the stage until he finished his gig with Congressman Obey and the band, I had the impression that at the end of a very long day Kerry loved his audience, loved the occasion, and believed his own words. The audience stayed with him. He knew which buttons to push. Perhaps the hottest one, with the most enthusiastically positive response, was his call to join Nancy Reagan in her campaign for stem-cell research.

I get tired standing for as long as an evangelical songleader wants me too, but I stayed on my feet for an hour and a half during this rally and don’t regret it. It was that compelling. Something powerful was going on that night, and I am unapologetic about being part of it.

Perhaps, in some obscure office somewhere, or on a backbench of Congress, there is a man or woman better qualified than Kerry for the Presidency. Better qualified, that is, in every way but the crucial one: the ability to win the office against formidable opposition. Kerry has that ability. I think he will win, I think he should, and I think the country will breathe a sigh of relief when he does. A mature leader will again be in charge of national affairs.

At that rally I went from being in the "Almost Anybody But Bush" camp to the "For Kerry" camp. To say "I like him," is not a substantive answer, but it’s the one that will drive most of the votes in November.

I like him. You may see that as my problem, but I'll live with it. I suspect the country will too.

Comments (3)


Post a Comment

Mike Thomson from Merritt Island, Florida writes:
July 18, 2004
The only thing I can say, Everett - is that I envy you. George W. Bush made one of several campaign appearances in Orlando recently and guess what? Ordinary citizens can't attend! You have to show Republican credentials and book well in advance. There is no spontaneity factor in deciding to attend a Bush rally. If grass roots wins this election - it will be Kerry grass roots and not Bush grass roots. All of George's grass roots are manicured!

I have just returned from an epic road trip that took my wife and I from Florida to the Pacific Northwest. The first leg of the trip routed us through Wisconsin. Waking up outside of the Wisconsin Dells. I took the pup outside to do her business and had the thrill of being besieged by hordes of Wisconsin mosquitos. Where do these critters come from? Did John Kerry swat or did he bathe himself in Deet?

By the time we reached Eau Claire, they had all gone away. What a beautiful state you live in!

Everett Wilson from Chetek, Wisconsin writes:
July 19, 2004
No mosquitoes at the rally, though I wore long sleeves and pants because of them. Maybe it was the steady breeze, maybe they sprayed, maybe they prayed. But Eau Claire is not the magic barrier for mosquitoes. The further north you go, the bigger and meaner they get.

Bloomer, where the rally was, is about twenty miles north of Eau Claire, on the way to Duluth. Chetek is further north on the same route.



Jim Black from Florida writes:
August 29, 2004
Everett,

Thanks for the article! I'm from the very interesting State of Florida (or state of confusion when it comes to elections!) I'm encouraged that there are others who will stand up and say that the emperor has no clothes! I hope, for the sake of the country and the world, that there will be a change in November.



Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*


Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Location:


Comments:*
Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.



Verification:
Please type the letters you see above.

  Printer-Friendly

Bookmark and Share


PO BOOKS BY EVERETT WILSON
Real Things
A novel.
Published January 2, 2008
Temporarily Unavailable

Real Things first appeared in serialized form on the Partial Observer in 2001. It is now available in print for the first time.

Over thirty years after a senseless crash redefined his life, Greg Thompson and his family finally learn why.

More Information
RSS FEED
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson
EMAIL ALERTS
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
Why Kerry?
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Everett Wilson
Necessary Things, A Companion and Sequel to Real Things
Available from Amazon Books, Amazon Kindle, and Me!
by Everett Wilson, 2/16/15
Until Barrett is Free, Neither Are We
Freedom of the Press is not a whim of the state
by Everett Wilson, 2/26/14
Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime
Six Obvious Reasons
by Everett Wilson, 11/15/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/2/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/1/13
Excerpt from my new novel, Scoundrels and Fools
Chapter 5: Ellis Johnson
by Everett Wilson, 7/12/13
The Rev. Marjorie Drickey's Last Message to a Dying World
And all the trumpets sounded for her on the other side.
by Everett Wilson, 2/14/13
» Complete List (151)


RSS FEED
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson

Recently Published
View Article Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17
A Mighty Fortress was His God
Remembering the legacy of Martin Luther 500 years later
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/27/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.


RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top