Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Date With Hillary

Seeing Hillary today at the Fort Worth Stockyards did not go the way I thought it would. I got to the location about 11am to see a long long long line snaking way out the east end of the Stockyards. The free parking zone was blocked off. Parking over by the world's biggest honky tonk, Billy Bob's, cost 5 bucks. I drove to a nearby park and parked for free.

I'd decided I had no interest in waiting in a line, but I knew of a couple alternative ways to get in the cordoned off zone. My first attempt was via the route along Marine Creek where a trail goes through a tunnel and comes out inside the Stockyards. But a couple cops yelled that we couldn't go that way. The cops directed us to that long line I'd already decided I was not going to wait in.

But I joined the crowd walking towards the line. Except I split off to go to another backway in, that being over the actual Stockyard pens. There is a boardwalk above the actual Stockyards. And the gate to it was open! I was surprised. When I exited, at the end of the boardwalk, I was inside the secondary security zone. A pair of cops told us to stick to the side of the road because the Fort Worth Herd was on the move.

A short distance later I was where that long line ended, extending the entire length of the Stockyards main drag. I'd managed to, accidentally, cut to the front of the line. And upon my arrival that line had been told to get off the street to let the Herd through. I did not realize what had happened and so I got in the line on the right, not realizing I was about 10 people from going through the airport like security thing, which of course I set off and had to get hand wanded. Right before I got wanded I got asked for some type of paper. I said I didn't have it. The guy said that's okay. I was sure the paper question meant the gig was up.

So, I got through the security check barely keeping my baggy pants from falling due to the removing of my belt.

There was plenty of room in the grandstands, so I got a good seat with a good view of the stage. And a good view of that long long line of people slowing going through security.

I got my video camera out and learned the battery was dead. Then I got my digital camera out and found I'd forgotten to put in the memory card. I was not happy. And then I remembered my cell phone can take pics and then I saw the battery on the phone was about dead. A few minutes went by and I remembered I had a second memory card, the original that came with the camera. It can only hold 18 pics, but that's better than none.

The pre-rally atmosphere reminded me of a high school pep rally. A lot of yelling and sign waving. Speaking of signs, while waiting to get through security, ahead of me was this cute little old lady. She had a hand made sign. This Hillary campaign person told the cute little old lady that they did not allow hand made signs! Can you imagine telling that to a cute little old lady who had gone to the bother of making the sign and coming to the rally? I was appalled. And even more so when I saw a lot of handmade signs once I got to my seat and looked around.

A mariachi band in native garb sang to us while we waited, songs like The Eyes of Texas are Upon You. A funny lady got up on the stage and did some sort of rapping chant. I saw her later when I was at Esperanzas for a chili relleno and told her she was very amusing.

As I waited for Hillary I kept being appalled at how ineptly slow the security check was, as in only a few people were getting in per minute. I'm sure a lot of people just gave up. What happened later regarding security rose to an entire new level of being appalling. You'll have to keep reading to find out what was appalling.

After what seemed an hour or so of waiting, suddenly attention diverted behind me. I turned to see that Hillary's motorcade had arrived. It was very interesting how the dynamic of the crowd changed when they could tell we were being able to see something. Shouts of is she here? And some of us would turn around and nod yes. Hillary slowly made her way along a construction fence.

A short intro by Henry Cisneros and then Hillary climbed on the stage and basked in the adoring screams of her fans. It was loud. I was amazed at how good-looking Hillary is in person. Those debate TV lights do not do her justice. And her speech was really good. No notes. And funny at times. She came across, to me, way different than she had before, as in she didn't seem at all cold or wooden. Or shrill. She looked so young. I can't believe she is 60. And it isn't like I didn't get a good look. And she was in pointy high heels. I thought that was brave, I mean those are not even walking surfaces in the Stockyards, and they had her walking through a construction zone.

And now back to the security. So, they put all these people through that long line hell, many of them giving up, slowly letting people into the sealed off zone, one by one. This went on for hours before Hillary arrived.

Just a week or so prior there was a controversy in Dallas when they stopped the security checks for an Obama rally because they needed to get the people in the building.

So, Hillary was part way into her speech. And then suddenly the security checks stopped and they let the people flood in. Now, if the logic was that no evil doer could get close to the stage at that point, well, they were wrong. I saw many people get quite close during the surge.

So, what was the point of doing the security checks, if, at some point after the person being protected is actually there, you lift the security? Now, if you wanted to do a bad deed would you not, I dunno, wait til they stop doing security checks and then proceed in with your homemade nuclear device?

It was like going from one extreme to another, going from airport like security checking to no security checking.

There were policemen on roofs, helicopters in the air, dozens upon dozens of Fort Worth Police. And the Secret Service was quite noticeable. It would seem that a secure situation could be attained without using the extreme measure of electronic screening. That is too slow in this type situation. It doesn't even work all that well in airports where you have a lot of security check throughs. Here at the Stockyards they had 3 electronic walk through screeners. For an estimated 10,000 people. Any of you who have suffered an airport intuitively know how brain dead doing this was. And wanding a jewelry laden old lady. Can't some common sense be used? How many old lady assassins have there been? Their numbers are few. I really can't think of a single one.

Hillary did have a fainter today! I thought only Obama had the fainters. All in all, a fun day.

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