What It Means To Be An American

Today, John McCain was in my town holding a rally. I went to the rally. I didn’t get inside because the venue held 4,000 and they gave out 11,000 tickets. So needless to say, a lot of people were upset outside the rally.

I was actually there as a member of Greenpeace. It was our purpose to ask Senator McCain to live up to his platform on Global Warming. It didn’t really matter that I didn’t get inside. We were more visible outside and we could concentrate more on our message.

What I found the most interesting of the event was what went on outside. At first there were just a few Obama supporters on the opposite side of the street and then there was our group – Greenpeace. Both groups held down each side of the street. People would honk as they rode past in their cars…pretty routine. But as time went on, more and more McCain/Palin supporters started to arrive. As they passed us on their way to the event they would snicker and make rude references about our group relocating to the beach and that “God would take care of us all”. Don’t ask me what that meant. I don’t know. I guess the real question should be, “isn’t Global Warming a non-partisan issue?” I digress.

Our evening peaked when McCain arrived and the event began. That was significant because it was then that his supporters realized that if they were not inside, the evening was over. At least for a moment. It was then, at that moment of realization, that they all seem to turn and see that a larger crowd of Obama supporters had not only gathered across the street, but were getting some nice attention by the people driving by. This was going to be the moment taken over by the McCain supporters. Like a crowd of ants emerging on a piece of cake, the McCain supporters grabbed their signs and filtered to the street. It was truly a protest of both parties.

Soon after the McCain supporters joined our side of the street, a group of moms protesting the war- “Code Pink”– came with their banners, and also supporters of our local democratic politicians joined in. It was truly a smorgasbord of political positions. And positioning it was, because each group shouted and called out their support to each of their causes. At times I was certain that a fight would break out and someone was going to get hurt. Fortunately everyone showed restraint and respect.

What I found the most meaningful about this event was that when I looked around at so many people who had so many different things to say, and so many opposing view points, no one stopped us from being there.

Isn’t it great to be an American?!