...busting up my brains for the words

Friday, October 01, 2004

America's Mayor

I attended a rally this morning featuring former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. It was held at the Minnetonka Community Arts Center. So I grabbed a #12C bus out of the Uptown Transit Center, transferring in Hopkins. I was delivered to Minnetonka in just three quarters of an hour.
I offered my services as a volunteer for the event. I've found that volunteering for these events is quite a bit more rewarding than merely attending. As a volunteer, I get a glimpse of the workings and I'm on duty to observe the goings-on. I was stationed at one of the doorways with a copy of the list of authorized attendees.
This event was different from any of the others I'd attended. Giuliani does not hold office. This was not a high security event. There were no tickets. We merely had names on printed lists. The attendees were greeted at the door, their name asked and then checked off the list.
The hall accommodates an audience of just 500 people.
Things went smoothly. There were no counter-rallies. But there was one small incident. A fellow who I would estimate to be about 60 years old walked up to the door wearing a Kerry tee-shirt, carrying a Kerry-Edwards campaign sign. My fellow worker asked for his name and established that this guy was not on the list. That wasn't good enough for this guy though, and he tried to challenge the judgment. Within a minute or two he was escorted to the door and a pair of security people kept their eye on him.
We were here to listen to Rudy Giuliani speak, not this guy's heckling.

The event itself was very brisk. Warm-up speakers included Congressmen Jim Ramstad and Mark Kennedy and Saint Paul Mayor Randy Kelly(DFL) . There was some good energy here. Minnetonka is within Congressman Jim Ramstad's jurisdiction and the locals responded very warmly toward him. Mark Kennedy has a talent for connecting to his audience. He told some stories I'd heard him tell other times at previous rallies, yet the response to him was also very strong.
But Randy Kelly was the keynote speaker and the crowd loved him. Here is a Democrat who remains with his party but has the balls to cross the line and support George W. Bush! That is one of the biggest statements a politician can make. For it it loyalty to party that is usually valued above all other traits in politics. Kelly is of interest to most of us, for most of us once called ourselves Democrats. It would have to be Democrats like Kelly, Koch and Miller who wield massive influence in an ailing Democratic Party that will seek restitution in the wake of a Kerry-Edwards defeat. For it is these men who understood, in the thick of battle, that blind loyalty to a sinking ship is nothing more than suicide.

Now Kelly introduced Rudy Giuliani to the audience. And what a warm introduction it was. We were reminded of Giuliani's singular leadership, his self-sacrifice, his inspirational presence in the aftermath of the attacks on this country on September 11th, 2001.
Predictably, Giuliani made us laugh. He shared his reaction to the debate of last night. At one point he mistakenly referred to "John Kerry's security threat to America". Correcting himself, he'd meant to speak of Saddam Hussein's security threat to America. Mr. Giuliani confessed that his mistake might have been a Freudian slip. I was too consumed with laughter to care if he'd played me or not.
Most of us understand that John Kerry is, indeed, a threat to the security of America. And that is not a laughing matter. Sometimes the most obscene notion is hilarious.
But in the most serious tones, Giuliani reminded us that George W. Bush is a great president and is a man of principled leadership. He took special care to recognize the grassroots volunteers that make the difference in this campaign. I took great heart in Rudy's assurance that "We will win the State of Minnesota and its ten electoral votes for President Bush." In a wonderfully inspired piece of wisdom, Rudy pointed out to us that the conviction of winning is the most powerful tool in achieving victory.
We jumped to our feet and cheered.
Yes. We will win Minnesota. We will continue to work hard, harder and hardest all the way to Election Day to win the presidency for W.

After the auditorium emptied out, I was approached by a reporter from Minnesota Public Radio and his tape recorder. He asked me a series of questions about the event and its effect upon us. One of the questions I recall his asking was, "Does the presence of people from areas outside of Minnesota coming to this state have any impact upon the people who live here?"
I replied, " You mean people such as Rudy Giuliani? Yes. He was introduced to us as The Mayor of America." He's one of us.


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