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30 October 2008

Presidential nominees coming to Virginia. Should I go to a rally? I've never been to one and I'm kinda interested.[More:]
The rally this Saturday is literally 3 minutes from my place. At first I was annoyed by the major inconvenience this is going to be. Huge traffic jams and the neighbors are saying be prepared to be swarmed by people looking for makeshift parking spaces.

Now, I'm voting for the other guy. I've been going door-to-door for the other guy. So, I'm not looking to go be inspired on Saturday. But I want to see what a rally is all about. I wouldn't cheer, but I wouldn't jeer (maybe) and I'd definitely take pictures.

Do non-supporters ever go to rallies? Is this a bad idea? I'm a bit intrigued by the celebrity factor. But its hours long. Can I leave early? And I need to sign up for a ticket. Does that mean my name will go on some list saying I attended a rally for so and so?

So would going be a bad idea?
Whoops, sorry for the weird spacing.
posted by moonshine 30 October | 22:12
Here's what to expect, based on when I saw Hillary here in NH:

1. You may have to fill out personal contact information just be let in.

2. Non-supporters do go, but don't go with any signage.

3. Going is never a bad idea. Especially going for this guy.

4. I'm assuming you're thinking of going to an Obama rally, and you're backing McCain?

posted by Lipstick Thespian 30 October | 22:24
Definitely go, if you're willing to deal with the amount of time it takes, the inconveniences and with being in the minority. These events are always food for thought.

I've been to events with both nominees (wow, I just realized that - they were months apart and it was still the primaries, so who knew?) and I think there's nothing like being able to see people in the flesh. You are simply more able to understand them, because you can use all the human skills we all have for understanding people based on their personal presentation, rather than on just a few moments of news clips or videos. They are far more three-dimensional in real life. And it will make you think to hear their views and watch the effect on the crowd around you, even though it may not change yours one whit.

Non-supporters definitely do go to rallies. But I would caution that you just keep a quiet, low profile. Don't get people all het up by wearing gear for the other guy or shouting your allegiance or picking fights or testy conversations. It's OK to not say much at all - if anyone asks you directly if you're a supporter, it's perfectly fine to say "Not really, I came out of curiosity," and if they press you, you can say you're "independent" or something else noncommittal. The part that you're going to be in this situation the most is not in the event itself, but in waiting on the line to get in, which can take hours and tends to be social.

On the whole I think it's a good idea. You'll learn from it, you'll feel a part of Something Big, and you'll have more of a sense of what's going on. In general it would be really healthy if we'd all go to one another's rallies more - it would keep both candidates and supporters a little more honest and respectful of one another.

posted by Miko 30 October | 22:28
I like spectacle, I might go. Though hours and hours is a long time to wait if I'm not at all interested in the candidate. But hey, if you want to go just to see it, go! Experiences like that are so fun to have in the book of stories of things you've done.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 30 October | 22:29

1. Do I have to show ID? Can I make up a name? I really don't want to get a barrage of solicitations for money later.
2. Where on earth do I get a sign?
4. No, other way around.
3. Is your answer still applicable?

Miko, thanks for the "I came out of curiousity" line. But ahhh, I don't want to wait hours in line. Especially since I can't find anyone else to go with me.
posted by moonshine 30 October | 22:33
I don't think you'll get solicitations. The ID check is a Secret Service thing not a marketing thing. Just don't fill out any other forms.

AS to not waiting for hours: you can chance it by going right at the start time and hoping you can just step onto the end of the line after the other people have already made their way in. The only downside is that they might cut off entries, especially if they are doing metal detectors, and you could get stuck outside.

posted by Miko 30 October | 22:36
4. No, other way around.
In that case I wouldn't, and if I did I'd keep a VERY low profile, and flat out lie and say yes if anyone asks if you're a supporter. Two guys standing across the street from a rally with obama signs had to be saved by the police when an angry mob surrounded them after the rally and started shouting threats and shoving. This was just a couple days ago. The atmosphere at a lot of these seems to be very hostile, and ready to erupt in violence at very little provocation.
posted by kellydamnit 30 October | 22:52
I watched the Obama speech from Missouri (Missourah?) tonight (slow night on TV) and I'd DEFINTELY go to one of his rallies if I had an opportunity. And take a hanky. And it's not even my election!

This is an historic election -- I think you will be glad you went even if just for the simple "I was there" factor.
posted by loiseau 30 October | 22:53
I would go, if only for the anthropological hit. I have seen Obama and Hillary in the primaries, and if the polls were closer, I may have had to work some main election rallies, if they were to happen in one of my schools. . but neither candidate came close to the west coast.

But yeah, low profile.
posted by danf 30 October | 23:02
I have to fill out a form just to get "an invitation." :(

The atmosphere at a lot of these seems to be very hostile, and ready to erupt in violence at very little provocation.
Yeah, that's kinda what I'm worried about. They want everyone to wear red and half my wardrobe is red. But I'd probably show up in black. Definitely not blue.

Can anyone give insight on when the speeches will start? The "doors" open at 9 am.

posted by moonshine 30 October | 23:05

1. The Main Event always starts late at these gigs - doors open at 9 means you don't see Boo of Joe Candidate until 10 at the earliest.

2. The signage thing was more along the lines of what was commented on upthread, i.e. don't be all balls-out with your support of Obama. Be courteous, be watchful, and don't get into it with anyone.

3. I personally couldn't stand to go see McCain speak, especially now. I can't even hack him on the radio. SMASH!

posted by Lipstick Thespian 30 October | 23:21
Sounds like a pain in the ass to me.
posted by puke & cry 30 October | 23:50
P&C, it will be a huge pain in the ass.

LT, I don't want to go see him speak. I want to see how big the crowds will be and how they react to his and her speeches. They say that Virginia may turn blue, but I've been going door-to-door and the support has been overwhelmingly for McCain - through many different neighborhoods. So, I am not optimistic. And this is Northern Virginia where four years ago 70% voted for Kerry.

Okay, so I'll
-go at 10
-bring a camera and my ID :(
-stay down wind

Thanks all! I'll report back if this pans out.
posted by moonshine 31 October | 00:39
Well, good luck.
posted by puke & cry 31 October | 02:07
Go, and have fun, moonshine. Just be an observer. It's always an insightful experience to see other circles. Let us know how it goes.
posted by chewatadistance 31 October | 07:46
Considering that attendees that "looked wrong" were dismissed from a McCain rally earlier this week, one of them in tears because she was an actual McCain supporter and had already voted ... I'd be wary.

Unless you're ready to actively blend in, the whole affair -- particularly the waiting -- might not be worth your time. And the time spent at the rally might be better directed toward local GOTV efforts for your chosen candidate.
posted by grabbingsand 31 October | 09:08
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