Standing in Line at an Obama Rally

The weather’s turned winter here in Ohio. And it happened in a blink. Last week, we were eating outside, in our Sukkah, corn stalks rustling in a fall breeze. Today, it’s hovering around 35 degrees. Sleet. Snow. Wind. Unbroken gray sky.

It wasn’t much different Monday, as people stood in line, waiting to get into the Obama rally in Canton.

This story was relayed to me by Amalie, who readers will recognize as a regular contributor on

The woman in front of Amalie in line was cold. Shivering and cold. She hadn’t anticipated the full frontal assault of winter, so suddenly.

And, as she waited — without asking anyone for anything — people started offering up their extra layers. One person gave her a scarf. Amalie offered her newborn’s baby blanket. (Her newborn is a HUGE Obama supporter, which is only fitting, since she has his same calm, cool, no-pacifier, no-problem temperament.) One woman trekked all the way back to the parking garage to retrieve an extra coat.

“This is what it’s supposed to be about,” Amalie told me yesterday, standing in my kitchen, our kids in the other room on a play date. “We help people — without judgment, without preconditions.”

As she said it, I thought — there it is — the central rationale for this campaign. Amid all this absurd mudslinging, attempting in these final days to brand Obama as a “Socialist” who would have the audacity to use tax revenue to lift up those in need, could there be a more simple, straightforward explication of what his policies are about?

You need a jacket. I’ve got one in the car. Hang tight.

Standing in line, warming at last, the woman told a story. A few days earlier, she had gone to see Michelle Obama speak in Akron. At the end of the event, she went up to Michelle, and told her about her son, a 31-year-old soldier in Afghanistan, with a four-month-old baby at home.

Michelle listened, heard, and then stepped forward and hugged her. Really held her. And it brought tears to the woman’s eyes.

This is what it’s supposed to be about.


2 Responses to “Standing in Line at an Obama Rally”

  1. JR –
    Thanks to you, and to Amalie, for sharing this simple story. It really is that simple, a kind word – a simple gesture of human decency. Without a thought, without wondering who you are or where you come from – or what you believe in. The most basic of needs so often unheeded.

    Let us take a lesson in the midst of all the insanity that surrounds us in this crazy last week. Let cooler heads, warmer hearts and open minds prevail.

    Tell Amalie there is a little 3-month old named Brody, proudly wearing a tiny little Obama onesie to the polling place with his Mama this election day. It’s his first… and it will be the one he tells his grand-children he was lucky enough to see with his own eyes.

  2. Neurotic Dem says:

    Eileen —
    Great to have you back for the sprint to the finish line!
    And: GO BRODY!

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