Monday, September 06, 2004

A couple anecdotal letters...

from The Corner.

    I am a northeast Pennsylvania resident who also happens to work up the road from the stadium where Bush made his first post-convention appearance.

    As expected, security was tight, traffic was a nightmare, and those of us who had to work had to find ways to get around it. To make it possible I left for work at 5 am this morning. Since we're a bank operations center, I just didn't have the option of saying "another day, time to play hooky."

    Groggy and tired, I arrived at the location at 5:45 and was amazed to see the traffic already backing up. The poor officers who arrived at 4:30 am to handle a Presidential appearance at 9:15 were smiling and waving us on. The organization as they tried to route those of us who had to get to work and at the same time direct those who were determined to get to the stadium was difficult, impossible at times, but well-done and determined.

    And I found I was astonished. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is a renowned Democratic stronghold, run by a political machine that's been in place for decades. Where did all these Republicans come from? How did they fill every one of the 18,000 seats they could? Why would 18,000 people (and more if they could have) come out in the pre-dawn darkness to hear a speech? Why did students from the University of Scranton arrive at the airport at 12:30 this morning to greet the President and First Lady and show their support? Why did even more crowds see him off at the airport this morning - unable to get to the stadium but needing to cheer him on?

    Why did the total number of protestors at the stadium, in this Democratic town, number 3 whole people? Even the newspapers seem incredulous.

    And then it occurred to me. There's a base of support that's farther and wider then realized. That people are quietly supporting Bush, keeping to themselves because they're unwilling to find themselves a part of the vitriolic smear and attack debates launched by those who hate him. That they walk away from political argument because you can't talk to someone who rants, but their silence doesn't mean agreement.
    I'm writing for the first time to the Corner because this post gave me the chills. I'm a student at NYU, one of the most liberal strongholds in one of the most liberal cities in the country. I have experienced several similar occurrances over the past year, and am continually amazed at the level of quiet support for Bush. Although nearly every single political gathering at NYU has a drastically liberal slant, there are more members of the College Republicans than College Democrats. Although our students lead protests and participate in die-ins, there are invariably twice as many people quietly disgusted with their actions than vocally supporting them. Volunteering at the convention, I spoke with numerous police officers, one of whom spelled it out for me very succinctly. "I'm 16 hours deep in a 20 hour shift, and I spent the first half of it being harassed, cursed at, and attacked by protesters over on Eighth Ave. One of them bit me on my hand, so I got sent back here to wat ch over the delegates for the second half of my shift. Since I showed up, I've gotten nothing but smiles, thank yous, and salutes from these delegates. One of my friends just offered to relieve me, but I told him I didn't mind staying around for a while longer. I voted for Gore last time, and Clinton before him, but I'm voting for Bush this time, without a doubt." Hearing that made up for all of the vitriol I've had to deal with being a Conservative at NYU.

Not polls. Just interesting.

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