Monday, October 7, 2019

Beto Came To Town

And you know that as soon as I saw the notice, I RSVP'ed.  He's the first Democratic candidate to visit our town, having reached out to the UofA's Young Democrats to gauge their interest. Not-Kathy and Dr. K and I arrived 45 minutes before the doors were to open and walked past several hundred humans who'd gotten there before us until we found the end of the line.

It seems that there was interest. 

There were voter registration helpers and there were name and address collectors and there were lots of people wearing red Moms Demand Action t-shirts, just like I was.  A young mom with two in a double stroller wore one as she pulled in behind us.  A few minutes later, she pulled us out of line with her; the Moms Demand Action Lead had texted the membership to come to the VIP entrance.

So, with friends in tow, with our leader pulling those similarly attired out of line to join our merry band, we walked past everyone and into the venue because they want to make a splash with Moms.

I don't mind being used that way.  Not at all.  Especially when it results in three chairs at a conveniently placed high top, a Barrio Blonde in my hand, and air conditioning while we waited.
The Young Democrats introduced the chair of the County's Democratic Party who introduced the candidate, who happened to enter the space through the door right behind us.  I figured that out a nano-second before he burst through the door; that's how I got this picture:
He turned, missed my out-stretched hand, then doubled back.  He 1000 watt smiled at me, shook my hand (strong and dry and huge) and said Thanks, Moms!  

I'm sure I'll wash it sometime.

He was less antic than I'd imagined he would be.  He was loud and personable and well-spoken.  He worked the room, wowed the crowd, touched all the points you'd expect, and answered real questions from real voters.  Our own Congresswoman, now Senator, wouldn't walk into a room like that.  It was a contrast that did not go unnoticed by the audience.  

He started by referencing Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and their connections to Tijuana, the site of his first date with his wife.  Tucson and El Paso are both border cities; our relationship with Nogales back in the day was a mirror image of the picture he painted.  There were those murmurs of recognition, again, especially when he reminded us that diversity makes us safer.

He called out Trump's racism, laying the blame for the El Paso shootings on the President's rhetoric. It's not enough to not be racist, we must be Anti-Racist.  Action is necessary because Trump is fundamentally changing America.

In this order, he talked about Guns, Immigration, Health Care, Disability Rights, Gay Adoption, Income Inequality, Drugs, Reparations, and Climate Change.  He wants to legalize marijuana and expunge related arrest records.  He likes Sheila Jackson Lee's bill and The Equality Act and the ADA.  

In a relevant-to-where-we-live moment, he referenced the Disappeared, the missing Native American women whose plight has gone unnoticed for too long.  The applause was different after this part; it was personal, close to home.

He's all for a woman's right to own her own health care, a position which drew the loudest and most sustained cheers from the audience.  He is determined to buy back military grade weaponry and to guarantee mental health care (did you know that the jails in Texas are the largest providers of mental health care in the state?).  

Clearing student loan debt for all teachers, having the DOJ intervene in transgender cases if the local authority isn't respectful, respecting civil rights.... he was just getting started on how he'd deal with Moscow Mitch when a woman fainted right in front of the stage.  As the paramedics did their thing, and the event began to migrate to the adjacent patio, we left through the doorway through which Beto'd emerged.  

There were no t-shirts for sale.  There were no signs or bumper stickers or decals handed out.  It was a town hall and a rally and a meet and greet.  It was being respected as a voter, as someone looking at the field and wondering where to land.  It was a candidate showing us who he is, or who he wants us to believe he is, 

It was, I imagine, a bit of what Iowans must get every day.  It gave me confidence in our democracy and in our citizenry.  I haven't felt that in a long time.


  1. I don't think he's presidential material - yet. I do wish he would run for Cornyn's (spelling approximate) seat. That's a great picture you took there.

    1. I was so lucky to have turned around! He's not my favorite, but he didn't disappoint so I'll be okay if he's the nominee. He commanded the room - I'd love to have him take on Trump.

      I wish they'd all stay in the Senate.


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