Day 11 - Jan. 4, 2015
The plan was set. We were to go to an executive meeting at the Capitol, then a John Kasich rally, then to one of Ted Cruz’s rally, then finish with Hillary Clinton’s rally that night.
The Capitol was majestic, as per usual, but this time we visited on a Monday, so everyone was back at work. Not a lot of people know this, but in the capitol building, the governor and some high-ranking officers will have a meeting every few weeks for things like funds, and penalties, and other things like that. And it’s open to the public. But since Swallow knew, we went in that morning to watch, as well as meet Gov. Branstad. It was surprisingly short, and over in a flash. Afterwards, we drove into the Valley Junction of West Des Moines, and went into a coffee shop, where Kasich was speaking. We couldn’t stay for the whole thing, as we wanted to be in Guthrie to catch the tail end of Ted Cruz’s rally. We arrived early this time, so we could still meet him without waiting until the end. It was a narrow entrance through the back, so it was very crowded back there. Instead of letting someone else take a picture of me with him, I took a selfie. As I was taking the selfie, a news reporter took a picture of me taking a selfie. Which was kind of cool, but I didn’t get on the news, as far as I know.
The drive to Cruz’s rally was very long, and the heating was cranked way up, so I was sweating in the car, only to have it all freeze over as soon as I got out. Cruz was just about to come out of the building, so we dashed in to get a quick picture right before he left. Then we backtracked to see his next rally, which was about 30 miles down the road.
We greeted him with our PYLI banner as he stepped out of the ‘Courageous Cruzer’ and took a picture with him. We continued to listen, but still left early, because Clinton’s event had doors opening early, and we wanted to get there in time. (Lunch? you ask, no, no time for lunch. Our schedule is as tight as the candidates’.)
When we arrived at Clinton’s rally, we saw that the front entrance to the building was closed. Long lines of people snaked around the back. This was quite a big building too. The Iowa State Historical Museum. We had nothing to do other than jump into the line. What made it even better was that there was some old man who decided it would be a good idea to stand in the side of the line, and slowly cut in front of every single person every time the line moved.
We finally made it through the metal detectors and x-ray machines, and hopped down to the ground floor of the museum. It was completely packed. It made all the other rallies we had seen seem tiny in comparison. Because remember, we didn’t see a Trump rally. Somehow, I managed to push to the front, but I was over near the side of the barriers.
Hillary arrived late. It was 6:45 when she came in, but the rally was due to begin at 6. Also there was former governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack and his wife Christie. Hillary had endorsed Vilsack in his campaign for governor of Iowa in 1999, and Vilsack then endorsed Clinton in her presidential campaign in 2008, after he had dropped out himself.
After Tom and Christie introduced Hillary, she talked about how Obama’s speech on gun control was so good, and pretty much said the exact opposite to what Ted Cruz was saying. At both rallies, people were cheering whenever they said something like that.
The talk was over quickly, but then all the people who wanted to meet her shoved to the front of the barrier. I had brought a baseball for her to autograph after seeing them on eBay. However, there were so many people looking for signatures that she had a guard collect them for her, then return them once she had left. And she didn’t sign baseballs. Or bits of paper. Only books and photos. Mom, however, thought fast and grabbed a PYLI t-shirt for her to sign. “There’s no guarantee that I can get it signed, but I’ll give it a shot,” the guard mumbled, sounding like he obviously had something better to do. He probably did, though. Once she had come around to our side of the building, we met her, took a picture, and it was over before it even really began. We might have been lucky just to get a picture with her (look at all the people in the background), but I still kind of wanted to y’know, talk with her. I toyed with the idea of trying to go up to her and get my baseball signed, but there was no way I could get back into the crowd and see her again. She left soon after. In just a few minutes, the whole building had completely emptied of people, but we were still waiting for the courier to deliver the books, photos, and our one t-shirt. Finally, the guy came However, I picked out a hint of black Sharpie. It looked like Clinton signed the white stripes of the American flag on the PYLI logo, instead of the actual fabric. So we actually did get Clinton’s autograph!
Missing my flight for this was well worth it - sort of...