A Mat-Su Teen Speaks Out

18 11 2008

Days in Alaska politics tend to focus on things like the Legislative Council, The Ethics Act, the endless and ongoing vote count in Alaska, the corruption and conviction of Alaska politicians and the latest comings and goings of our Governor… So when something like this lands softly in my inbox, it stops me in my tracks. This is part of an essay written by a self-described “Caucasian high school girl” named Waverli Rainey who lives in Palmer, Alaska. Palmer is the little town that sits right next to Wasilla.

Nov. 4 was a momentous moment for me. I went to the Wasilla Sports Complex for what was called a community event. We were told it was non-partisan because it’s a city building. However, once inside, it seemed as if it was a Republican-only event. Despite this, we stayed. Although I am too young to vote, I sat at the Sports Complex to see who would be the new president. I felt joy as I saw Sen. Barack Obama’s electoral points grow and grow. I clapped for and was impressed by Senator McCain’s graceful speech and his call for unity and support for the new president-elect.

I anxiously awaited what Present-elect Obama would say. Between speeches, a live band played music. However, when President-elect Obama began to speak, those running the event had to be asked to have the band stop so we could hear him speak. Eventually, they stopped playing, but we missed the beginning of the speech. Then half way through this historic speech, former Mayor Keller turned down the audio of President-elect Obama and put on a call from Governor Palin. I certainly understand the desire of Valley residents to hear from the governor, but if this was a non-partisan event, I feel that interrupting the next president was disrespectful. I also feel it did not represent the coming together of America that Senator McCain had only moments before asked his supporters to do.

The event was supposed to be for all parties, for all people, but it didn’t feel like it. I was shocked and offended. The event was supposed to be for supporters of Senators Obama and McCain and no one paid respect to President-elect Obama’s historic moment. Finally, another step toward complete equality and it seemed no one cared.

So the next day I borrowed my mother’s Obama shirt and walked into school wearing my pride on my chest. Finally the campaign was over and I was actively supporting our new president, even though I knew I would be vastly out numbered at school. I expected complaints and qualms about the new president, but I was not prepared for the flat-out racist remarks said openly in the halls and classrooms. I was appalled. While I sat at my desk trying to do my work I could hear my fellow classmates:

“I think we should kill Obama,” one said.

“I hope someone comes up and shoots him in the head,” another would say.

“I hate Obama … he’s black.”

On went the racist words for the full 80 minutes of that class. Angered, I began to think of the injustice of it all and the ignorance of the students I was surrounded by. I wondered where they learned to be so hateful, and I wondered why the teacher never stepped in – why no adult, no student, including myself, had the guts to cut in and say it was not OK. Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All men are created equal. All men. That does not mean only if you’re the same color as me, think like me, talk like me, or worship who or how I do. It means regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or religion – we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness. Guilt does not follow race. All Arab-Americans are not Muslim extremists; being Arab-American simply means their family came from a certain part of the world. All Asian-Americans are not all like Kim Il-sung; Asian-Americans come from countries like China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore and they are not all the same. All African-Americans are not guilty of the genocide seen in places like Rwanda and Kenya.

If we were all guilty of the sins of our race, then what am I — a Caucasian high school sophomore from Palmer, Alaska — guilty of? Am I guilty of stealing land from their Native owners? Am I guilty of enslaving Africans? Am I guilty of the slaughter of entire races of people? Am I guilty of imprisoning Chinese and Japanese in American interment camps?

As a Causation high school girl, it’s easy to forget things like in America you wear a color — often called black, or white, or yellow, or red, or brown. We do not pick our name or race — we’re not chameleons who can change color at will, it’s how we’re born and raised. Being African-American, or Latino, or Asian-American, or Native American, or Alaska Native, or Arab-American is not a crime. Being Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic is not a crime. Wearing a burqa on your head, or glasses on your face, or studying all views of the world and seeing the flaws of all governments is not a crime.

Sometimes I think of a place where all of our languages are mashed together, singing of our own multi-heritage pride; the pride of a truly unified America. A place where we can be proud of our accents because this is how American English sounds, too. A place where there is no more White Power! or Black Power! Where it’s American Power! Or better yet, where it’s Human Power! A place that proudly conjures images of colonists throwing tea into a harbor, Martin Luther King Jr. standing on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, and immigrants working hard to achieve their American dream all at the same time. We are the story of our culture and colors and I’d like us all to take pride in it.

If ignorance and intolerance and bigotry is our past, then Waverli Rainey and those young people like her are surely our future. And we’re going to be OK.

To read the entire article in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, and leave a note of support for Waverli, click HERE.

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Signs of the Times in Anchorage. Open Season on Idiocy.

1 11 2008

I had to run an unexpected errand in South Anchorage today. My travels took me to “the Hillside” to one of Anchorage’s more lucrative zip codes. This is the area with the big houses that overlook the Anchorage skyline and Cook Inlet, where you expect to find many traditional Republican voters, and oil industry executives. I decided I was going to keep a tally of yard signs and see what I ended up with. I was quite surprised. Here’s the breakdown, with Democrats on the left and Republicans on the right.

Obama 4 – McCain  0
Begich 18 – Stevens  0 (Senate race)
Berkowitz  8 – Young  0 (House race)
Kenny 17 – Hawker  15 (Local House race)

The latest numbers now show Mark Begich with a 20 point lead over convicted felon Ted Stevens in the Senate race. Ethan Berkowitz is 9 points up in the House race over Don Young. And from the looks of it, the local Democrat might even stand a chance in this Anchorage red zone. My faith is restored.

The bad news in the sign department is that an Obama-Biden sign that got stolen and replaced down the street from me, is gone again. But my own sign, is still sticking proudly in its snowbank.

And remember a while ago, when I found signs hung up over the highway that said, “Obama 4 Change 2 Islamic Law -N- USA”? Well, the perpetrator obviously has nothing but time on his hands, because they’ve started popping up all over town. In actuality this tortured soul with the spray paint, the stencils, and the disregard for the English language has provided a new sport for my spouse.

Today's Haul.

Today's haul.

Spouse has started a collection, and everytime a sign is seen, the brakes screech, the exacto knife comes out of the glove compartment, and the sign ends up in my trunk. I think that Spouse secretly likes this activity. In any case, we  added three new signs to the collection today, which brings the total up to 8.

This time there was a new development….the name of a website was written on one of the signs. Since it was written in small letters, it’s doubtful that our sign maker intended it to be seen by the passing traffic. It was meant…..for US, the sign taker-downers.

Something looked fishy about the website address…. http://www.obessionthemovie.com. Obession? I tried it. No movie. It was as I suspected. I tried obSessionthemovie.com. Paydirt! Obsession – Radical Islam’s War Against the West. The trailer has collapsing towers, crowds chanting “Death to America”, and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of the Fox crowd saying that “every single American should see this movie.”

So keep an eye out Anchorage and Eagle River area residents! It’s open season on illegally displayed, badly written, factually incorrect political signs with spelling mistakes! And you don’t even need a hunting license!

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Human Obama Logo in Anchorage – Video

29 10 2008

Here is the video from last Saturday’s event in downtown Anchorage! Hundreds of Obama supporters gathered in the freezing cold for over an hour to send this video postcard to their fellow Americans “outside.” Enjoy, and pass it on!

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Obama Rally in Homer, Alaska!

28 10 2008

Reports and pictures continue to come in from Mudflatters around the state holding rallies and events for Barack Obama.  These latest shots come from Judi Nester, the Homer Obama co-Chair, in Homer, Alaska, a wonderful small town of about 5000 people located on the Kenai Penninsula, about a four hour drive south of Anchorage.

Judi writes:

Some of the things that we have done in Homer is send out 2,500+ postcards to voters in the swing states of Ohio, PA and IN – phone canvass in Ohio and, of course, Homer and walking canvass of the Homer area. Organized a big rally in the Park – called Unite for Peace and Change – which registered voters and gave a forum for people to make speeches about Obama/Biden. We had speakers ranging in age from 17 to 70+. Now like many Obama campaign volunteers, we are engaged in the GOTV effort in Homer.

We were inspired by the Women for Obama event in Anchorage to do our own photo shoot.  The photos and blog about the event in Anchorage was terrific.  We were able to get over 50 volunteers for our own photo shoot yesterday which is about 1% of the population of Homer.

We have been feverishly working here since about April of this year and have a wonderful volunteer base.  I read Mudflats everyday to get an idea of what’s really happening in Alaska politics.  It’s been wonderful, especially with what everyone has been able to do in the troopergate investigation.

I hope, some day after Obama is firmly entrenched in office, he hears about how hard Alaskans have worked for him, and how many of us have used our energy, our time, and our sign-making ability to be out taking his message to the state of Alaska.

A big hat tip to all the intrepid core volunteers for Obama in Homer – Bob, Kat, Elizabeth, Sharon, Frank, Ingrid, Kim, Shannon, Christie and Bob (the photographer).  Also to the Palpitations musical comedy group for their fabulous performances at three events!

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Anchorage Daily News Endorses Obama!

25 10 2008

Holy Cow.  Alaska’s largest newspaper has endorsed a candidate for president, and it isn’t the guy that shares the ticket with our own Maverick Governor!  As irritated as I have been by the sometimes cloying, often gushy coverage of Sarah Palin, it is inconceivable that any thoughtful person or entity living in the state of Alaska, could possibly think that she is the best choice to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

The Anchorage Daily News Endorses Barack Obama. (I just felt like typing that again.)

Here are the highlights:

Alaska’s founders were optimistic people, but even the most farsighted might have been stretched to imagine this scenario. No matter the outcome in November, this election will mark a signal moment in the history of the 49th state. Many Alaskans are proud to see their governor, and their state, so prominent on the national stage.

Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

[snip]

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

[snip]

Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she’s a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

And to further redeem themselves in the eyes of the Mudflats Editorial Board (me), they have coverage of today’s Obama rally right there on the front page online, with a nice write-up and a picture.  I had given the first ever “Moose Nugget Award” to the paper after their heavy coverage of the meager pro-Palin rally, and hardly a mention of the gigantic pro-Obama rally happening at the same time right down the block.  Now, I would like to acknowledge that they have tried to make amends, and upgrade them to the coveted “Gilded Moose Nugget!”  (Loud applause, and caps tossed in the air!  Approving snorts from polar bears, wolves howling and chasing their tails!)

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Obama Rally Finale in Anchorage!

25 10 2008

Another great group of Obama supporters congregated on the Park Strip in Anchorage today.  This time, they were on an artistic mission.  The goal?  To create a giant Obama logo made up of pixel people in colored plastic ponchos. 

When I arrived, there were about 300 people already there, and just starting to take their positions.  I laughed because the size of this crowd would have totally blown me away a couple months ago, but now, after a series of enormous rallies (Alaska Women Reject Palin, Alaskans for Truth, Statewide Obama rally), it seemed perfectly normal!

Once again, everyone was all smiles, despite the VERY cold temperatures.  The blue people were being guided into place, by people with bull horns.  Then the white ones filled in part of the center.  Then red ones.  Then more white ones.  All the placement was meticulously coordinated by someone operating a camera from the top floor of a hotel across the street, who gave directions via walkie-talkies to the crew on the ground.  The event was promoted as an Alaska Women Support Barack Obama event, but men were welcome, and plenty showed up!

There were lots of progressive canines decked out in various types of attire, and it was a wonderfully diverse and enthusiastic crowd all around.  Once again there was lots of honking from passing cars, and people rolling down windows to give us big thumbs up in the frigid air.  There was one sad lonely guy on the corner with a sign that said, “Barack Hussein Obama Will Destroy the United States.”  It reminded me of the guy on the street corner with the ancient dog-eared decrepit sign that reads, “The World Will End Tomorrow.”

Finally the finished logo was in place, and the group started chanting O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! which eventually morphed into “Yes We Can!”  And I allowed myself a few moments of imagining what it would be like if Alaska went for Obama this year. 

Then the coordinator with the bullhorn told everyone to remember where they were standing and what their neighbors looked like.  Then, from the top of a ladder he told everyone to disperse out of the “frame” and then when he gave the command, to run in from all sides and reclaim their positions.  He warned everyone to expect total chaos, but that it would be fun.  He was right.  People of all colors – reds, whites, and blues – separated, and then ran back together with whoops and hollers, spinning in circles, clapping, cartwheeling, and jumping, and remarkably formed a pretty decent regenerated logo in less than a minute!

By the time I got back to my car, my nose was red, my thighs were burning, my fingers were numb, and my face was frozen in a big grin.

The rally was organized to send a last-minute photo message to the rest of the country that Alaskans support Obama in large numbers, and that not all Alaskans are in love with Sarah Palin….not by a long shot.  I’ll post pictures of the official logo shot, and video as soon as they become available!

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The Obama Landslide in Alaska. It’s All How You Look at It.

22 10 2008

Brand new poll numbers came out yesterday from Ivan Moore Research, here in Anchorage.

McCain-Palin – 53
Obama-Biden – 42

While McCain/Palin still has a double digit lead, frankly this is a really big deal.

Here is the way Alaska fell out for the last three presidential elections so you can compare:
McCain 53 – Obama 42 (results on 10/21)
Bush 62 – Kerry 35
Bush 59 – Gore 28
Dole 51 – Clinton 33

So, the McCain/Palin ticket in Alaska has managed so far to generate only slightly more interest than Bob Dole. Remember him? And that’s with our governor on the ticket! That’s not much in the way of bragging rights. As a matter of fact, I’m ready to call this a major psychological victory for Obama and the Democrats in Alaska. I feel quite comfortable, in my non-scientific way, to tell you that if Palin were not on the ticket, we’d have a horse race here, in the ruby-reddest-flaming-lobsterized- fire-engine-colored state you can imagine.

As an Alaskan, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last two months with a metaphorical bag on my head, sinking down in my chair, but now I’m actually feeling a little proud of us. *satisfied sigh*

If the latest Palin debacles of wardrobe-gate, and travel-gate have any effect, and the race goes to a single digit spread, you’ll hear Democratic corks popping all over the state. That’s a landslide.

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Rain Gear Rally for Obama in Juneau!

20 10 2008

When I got an email a couple weeks ago from the organizer of the Obama rally in Juneau that happened this past Saturday, I thought to myself, “Why are they calling it a Rain Gear Rally?”  It’s two weeks from now…how do they know?  Then I remembered.  It’s Juneau.

And sure enough, those intrepid waterproof souls we know as Juneau Democrats, braved the freezing rain and wind, and were out there for the cause.  A big wave from your compatriots in the north, Juneau! Keep up the good work!

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Who is the Real Barack Obama?

15 10 2008

Despite the fact that Barack Obama has been campaigning for president for the past two years, there are still people (like Sarah Palin) asking the question, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” After all, despite speeches, town hall meetings, debates, interviews, press conferences, and two books….we’re still not quite sure. *whispers* Did you know his middle name is ….(looks around to see who might be listening)….Hussein?

I mean, Saddam Hussein had that name too! Clearly, Obama is not only a muslim, but a muslim terrorist, unless we’re talking about his angry pastor. HIs best buddies are probably terrorists too, and I’ll bet you he wasn’t even born in the United States. You can tell a lot by a name…





Obama-rama in Juneau, Alaska!

5 10 2008

Here it is….from the capitol city of Alaska! Several hundred Juneau-ites came together and rallied for Obama-Biden! For a city of 30,000 people, that’s saying something! Here’s the recap with photos from Mudflatter Sandy Beach!

*************************************************************************

Juneau had a great party today. It was held at our Juneau Arts & Cultural Center, the former Armory. Participants were instructed to make a sign that reads “I am an Alaskan __________, and I choose Obama/Biden.” You were to fill in the blank with a word to describe yourself. As you can tell from the pictures, most people did just that. There were Alaskan mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, animal lovers, hockey players, fishermen, moose hunters, nurses, dietitians, pastors, Christians, Lesbians, state employees, rednecks, developers, entrepreneurs, poets, musicians, and even a few Republicans. There was music, an emcee, and a visit from Juneau Representative Beth Kertulla. In fact, someone who looked a lot like Sarah Palin showed up and gave a speech, although she looked a bit unsteady on her high heels. Note: See the the woman with a child in her arms that faux Sarah is posing with? That’s the real Sarah—Sarah Conarro, that is, whose brainchild this whole event was.

The people you see working intently at small tables are doing one of two things: making a sign or writing postcards. The local Obama campaign people provided stacks of lovely Alaska postcards pre-addressed to undecided voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Obama-Rama attendees wrote personal notes to them, suggesting how they might want to vote on Nov 4.

At one point, the crowd took their signs outdoors to greet the traffic on Egan Drive. Kudos to Sarah Conarro for throwing a great party!





And the Moose Nugget Award Goes to…..

5 10 2008

I attended both Presidential candidates’ rallies in Anchorage yesterday.

Obama-Biden rally – Approximately 1200 rally-goers, lots of homemade signs, voter registration, postcard writing, live band, t-shirt/button sales with long lines, lots of families and dogs (some with signs), outside on the Park Strip.  Noticeable racial diversity in the crowd.

Focus of rally:  Hope, change, moving forward, getting out the vote, labor, women’s issues, health care, the economy, veterans, Alaska natives.

McCain-Palin rally – Approximately 250ish rally-goers, hundreds of empty chairs, pre-printed campaign signs, t-shirt/button sales, high school band, very few kids, no dogs, inside in a cavernous convention hall.

Focus of rally:  Terrorism, military, fear of those who “hate us”, Obama rally is angry and filled with hate, think of all that Alaska will get if Sarah is elected, oil, get out the vote, war.  Noticeable lack of racial diversity in the crowd.

The front of the room at the Palin rally.  Slideshow at right.

Yes, I am an Obama supporter.  Yes, I had a rollicking good time at the Obama rally.  Yes, I found the McCain-Palin rally empty (on many levels) and depressing.  But trying really really hard to be “objective”, that was my take of what I observed.

Here’s my beef.  The Anchorage Daily News covered the McCain-Palin rally, as you would expect they would.  But, they did not cover the Obama rally.  The article on the cover of today’s Anchorage Daily News entitled Pro-Palin Rally Gets Surprise Guests had 535 words.  489 of them were about the McCain-Palin rally, the surprise pop-in from Todd and Piper Palin, and included quotes and observations from the rally-goers.  44 of those words were about the Obama-Biden rally….the rally with four times as many attendees; the rally that flew in the face of Sarah-mania on her home turf; the rally that showed the rest of the country that there is significant support for a Democratic candidate in the state of Alaska.  There were no quotes or interviews.  Here are the 44 words:

The Saturday [Palin] rally had plenty of competition downtown as Alaska supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama held a rally and voter registration drive on the chilly Delaney Park Strip nearby.  Hundreds of Obama fans crowded sidewalks and waved signs as cars streamed by.

Two sentences.

The Obama-Biden rally was the largest rally for a presidential candidate in Alaskan history.  There were similar rallies held all across Alaska, with hundreds in attendence  in Fairbanks, on the Kenai Penninsula, and even in Juneau!  In a state where it can be politically risky to “out” yourself as a progressive-sympathizer, a Palin opponent, or…(gulp)…an Obama “operative” as the McCain campaign is fond of calling anyone with a sign, this was incredible.  It was, I would argue, the biggest political news of the day.

Alaskans know Sarah Palin, and they just voted with their feet, and their Saturday afternoon.  Where did they go?  4 to 1 they went to the Obama rally.  Now, don’t get me wrong, McCain and Palin may still win this state.  She’s got the “home team right or wrong” vote, she’s got the “Alaska will get more stuff” vote, she’s got the “underinformed voter” vote, and she’s got the extreme Evangelical vote.  But she does not have the enthusiastic, engaged, willing to turn out, get off the couch, and do something vote.  And those are usually the people that actually make a difference.  So kudos to the Alaska Obama campaign for pulling it off, and doing it with positive energy, hard work, and style.  So, in my world, here’s the headline in the Anchorage Daily News that you deserve.

Obama Rally Dwarfs Palin Rally in Anchorage. Surprising Lack of Support for Governor.

In closing,  my newly invented “Moose Nugget” award goes to the Anchorage Daily News.  Not because they didn’t do their job, but because they only did half of it.





McCain Palin Rally vs. Obama Biden Rally in Anchorage! The Blow by Blow.

4 10 2008

Once again, there were duelling rallies here in Anchorage.  The McCain-Palin rally was held in the just-completed Dena’ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage.  The Obama rally was held outside, just a couple blocks away, at the Delaney Park Strip.

One would think that the Republican rally celebrating the hometown girl, in her very very red state would have drawn a huge crowd, and that the Obama rally would be a few brave intrepid souls with a couple signs shivering by the side of the road.  One would be wrong.

The Obama rally was all set up and running when I arrived – tents, face painting, t-shirt sales, voter registration, postcard writing to swing states, a huge stage and sound system.  By 1:00, there were more than a thousand people milling around with signs, kids, dogs and huge smiles.  This was definitely a feel-good place.  Hundreds lined the roadside waving signs to appreciative honking motorists, and hundreds more milled around the tent area.  Anchorage mayoral candidate and former legislator Eric Croft got up and spoke, so did Kat Pustay who’s heading up the Obama campaign in the state.  Then came Ethan Berkowitz, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat currently held by Don Young.  Ethan welcomed his “fellow revolutionaries”. The crowd went wild.

I looked at my watch.  It was after 1:30 and I knew if I didn’t get to the McCain Palin rally soon, I’d never go.  So I ripped myself away from all the positive energy and the fresh air, and hurried over to the Dana’ina Center.  3 people stood outside waving signs.  I figured I had to smile, so I did.  “Come on in, we’re having a rally!” one of them effused. I took a big cleansing breath, and in I went.

I just had a feeling this rally wasn’t going to have as big a crowd as the Obama rally, because the rally that was held for Palin herself, when she was in Anchorage a few weeks ago only had about 500 people show up.  But I walked into the room and I really was stunned.  I felt like I had entered an empty chair convention.  It was really bad.  I actually felt sorry for the organizers for a minute, before I snapped myself out of it.   A head count yielded about 250-300 people.  Clearly they had been hoping for more.

Jack Frost, local voice-over guy and conservative Republican who got trounced by Mark Begich in the last Anchorage mayoral race, was the emcee.  Literally right as I sat down he was announcing the “special guest”….a phone call from Sarah Palin!  Her voice was piped in over the loudspeakers, and there was a slide up on a screen showing her photo-op with Henry Kissinger.  I have to say, it was a bit jarring sitting there hearing the ‘giant voice’ of Sarah Palin filling the room.  She didn’t say much.  It was a bunch of “Gee, I miss you guys…  I heard there were a few flakes today.  I miss that weather.  It’s been so amazeen travelin’ across this great country and meetin’ people, and even Alaskans down here also as we travel across the country also meetin’ people…  I miss you guys SOOO much.”

A lady scooted up to me and said, “We’d really like everyone to be up at the front and towards the center, not all spread out.”  Ah…can’t have the news cameras getting all those chairs.  I scooted up and way over to the side so I wouldn’t get on film.

Then the emcee reminded us about how much Alaska would “get” if Palin was the VP, and also reminded us that our enemies hate us because of our way of life, and our freedoms, and “all they want to do is kill American soldiers”.  Then he said the only thing the rally was missing was “an effigy of Katie Couric.”  (Felt pocket for Tums….left them home.)

And look, there’s Meg Stapleton sitting among the empty chairs.

Next up was a local Republican legislative candidate, Bob Lewis,  who told the crowd he had driven past “that other rally” on his way in, and how the people were just full of hate, and anger and fear, and that “we” (the Palin rally) were the ones having a good time.  “So,” he told us, “you need to decide which side you want to be on!”

That was it for me.  Had to leave.  On the way out I noticed clip boards with the “support Palin” petition.  Someone behind the table said that this was “against those people” (described as ‘Obama operatives’) who were smearing Palin and that “we just want to support her.”  I didn’t sign….being an “operative” and all.

Back out into the fresh air, and down the street where signs were still waving.  As I crossed the street there were police cars, and I noticed several very large piles of something in the middle of the road.  The road had actually been closed off from traffic….  at first I thought it was cement, but then I looked closer and it was….mud!  It looked for all the world like muflats mud! Done on purpose to keep visibility of the rally low?  Strange coincidence?  A message to Mudflatters?   I have no explanation for that one…

Crossed the street, and there I was again, back at the rally of “hate, anger and fear” listening to a great local band, and watching kids with painted faces dancing in the grass, smiling people registering voters, busy postcard-writers, cheering sign-wavers, and a community brought together by a shared desire to move the country in a new direction.

Clearly I was at the right rally.