When McCain came, we protested. His followers derided us, blustered, exhibited offense, and showed a strong unwillingness to discuss why they believed the things they did.
When eight protesters showed up for Obama's speech, we went and gave them a hand in our pink Planned Parenthood shirts:
How could we resist? The irony of a McCain supporter holding a sign that reads "Obama is 4 Big Government" is so palpable you could drown in it. Additionally, he couldn't take the time to write out the three letters in the word "for" - AOL speak is what this particular protester finds to be the best means to eloquence in this case. But was he really a protester?
There's some confusion about whether or not the people with signs are protesters. In the News-Leader story Jack Jackson, the co-chair for the Republican presidential nominee in Missouri, says "We're not protesters." He is either lacking a suitable definition for "protest," or he is purposefully being disingenuous. My money is on the latter.
Jackson and his group of eight (and a lot more, particular in this region of the country and increasingly more as they begin to believe certain unreasonable propositions about Jesus) have bought into this weasely method of defending what you do. For instance, the Bush administration does not torture, they simply derive information under the duress of drowning people, they are not spying on Americans, they are just reserving access to their communications without telling anybody and without oversight, and countless others.
The things is, we wouldn't care if they were protesters. These people showed up ten minutes before the door opened (compare that to our protest of McCain, when we were out there for about eight hours), and before they did, we had lamented that the "other side" hadn't come out and made their voices heard. While their voices were small, weak, and ineffectual, we're still glad they showed up - we love people who are passionate enough to protest. Why would you want to dodge that label?
Unless, of course, there are rules set up to prevent candidates and their campaigns from generating protests. That would be a good reason to try and dodge the protest label, and it would certainly be in-keeping with the Republican wishy-washy plays on definition I listed above.
About Obama's speech (to watch the speech, go here). The intro to his speech was given by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. She was given a standing ovation by almost everybody - I was one of the few who refrained. Her speech was purely empty rhetoric and appeal to emotion, both of which I do not care for as speaking tactics. Energizing a group is great, but it should be built around a tangible idea or reason, and her speech lacked anything resembling either.
Obama's speech on the other hand was positively brilliant. McCain attempts to hammer him on his lack of understanding of economics (even Obama himself has expressed that he will defer to economists on the economy, in a sense admitting his lack of expertise). However, Obama's speech focused on the economy, and it was well-researched, cogent, and logical. Not only did he identify problems, he isolated what does not work, explained why, and then outlined his plan and why it would work. The guy has solutions in mind, and the data and fact to back them up.
Also, not once did he attack John McCain or his character: merely the ideas that McCain has, and in this he was just as able to wield reason and data. The man really can defend his beliefs and he can do so with all of the security and confidence of somebody who is informed and rational.
I left more convinced than before that Barrack Obama has the potential, given his intellect and leadership abilities, to be a great leader for us. He is certainly the best candidate available in this election.