One Thing Down, Ten Billion To Go

CLEVELAND — “I have always wanted to see a president in person. I am just that kind of person. I have seen countless bands live just to get the experience of it all. For example, I do not care for Bruce Springsteen (yeah, yeah) but I saw him play a small solo set once in Cleveland with just him and a guitar. I was close enough that I could hear him speak without his mic and when I yelled “play a little diddy about Jack & Diane” he promptly looked down at me and did not come to that side of the stage the rest of night. This is the kind of stuff I like to do.

During the presidential election between Bush Jr & Kerry I tried very hard to see Bush speak. Not because I liked the guy, because I most certainly do not, but because I got to see the leader of the free world. I had tickets and he was speaking in a small suburb of Cleveland that I grew up next to so seeing him should have been a breeze. It however was not. The boss I had at the time was a super republican, the kind of republican who is now considered a Tea Partier. Because we had many arguments over politics he decided he would not let me out of work that day. I had to drive around the area all day for work, almost as if the world was just laughing at me.

Eight years later I got a ticket to see Obama and since I now own my own business, I was going to be there.

I talked with my wife and she was also excited to go even though she is 7 months pregnant and there would be a lot of standing. We arrived promptly at 5:30 when the doors opened and stood in a line for only a few moments and in we were. During the security check point I got nervous remembering that my mind is stuck in the 90s and I have a chain wallet. Once the machine beeped at me I knew it was going to be annoying to leave my wife and run back to car. Except they didn’t care and in I went.

Once we got in we stood, then stood a bit longer, after that we moved back away from our standing spot because the lack of air bothered my wife, then some more standing and moving back one more time. At this point it was about 7:30 and the opening acts came out; some dumb religious person, some other guy, Betty Sutton and Marcy Kaptur. This is when we stood some more. My wife started to get very tired and in need of a seat. So on the ground we went. About 8:30pm Obama finally came out and I was seeing the most powerful person in the world.

It was amazing to see Air Force One fly around and then land in front of me. The door opened and out walked the big guy. It was everything television had said it would be. He strolled to the podium with a swagger that only Barack seems to have.

He spoke and it was wonderful. Although I was only able to listen to about half of his speech because the wife needed to leave and only stayed as long as she did because she knew how special the night was going to be for me. As we walked back to my car I felt great about the evening even though I am so insanely scared that Mitt Romney will win this election and women rights, along with gay rights, and care for the people of this country will be ended.

Dave Ralph

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