I heard about this even a scant five hours before it was set to start, and I wanted to get there a couple of hours early, so I hastily made a sign using the shade from my balcony door and some paint leftover from redecorating the living room.
I took the subway to Cambridge and caught a bus. I got out on the correct street, but in my haste I failed to realize I was still rather far away from the high school. I was looking for numer 81, and I was in the high 300's. Shit. Knowing it would take longer to stand around waiting for the next bus, I ran/walked/ran/walked/ran the rest of the way with my sign rolled up and probably looked rather ridiculous. Finally, I arrived to see a good number of police officers and some news vans:
The first signs I saw, regrettably, belonged to followers of Lyndon LaRouche, who are known for their sound views, sane literature, and staying classy:
This didn't set a good tone. I wasn't sure what sort of people would show up. Yes, this is a very liberal city in an EXTREMELY liberal state, but we all know how the teabaggers seem to take the reins at these things, even when Republicans are in the minority in those constituencies. Well, there was this guy:
But aside from him, all down the line it looked like this:
I liked this particular woman's sign. I regret not capturing her in a more flattering moment:
Oh, and there was this guy, whose sign urged Senator Kerry to vote NO on "national heathcare":
Well, I can't say I'm for national heathcare either, whatever the hell it might be. National healthcare, however, saves lives, like this lady's:
The line stretched around the school. The entrance is about where the flagpole is:
I took my place in line. "DAMN there are a lot of people here," I thought. It warmed my heart that a line this long was forming for a political issue and not because Wal-Mart was having a 40% price reduction on DVD players the next morning:
Soon after, though, the line grew even longer, and I was glad I got there when I did:
People kept on commenting on, taking pictures of, and generally admiring my sign. I was interviewed and had my picture taken by a guy from the Boston Herald, but didn't end up in the paper OR on the website. Poor me. Anyway, here's the other side of my sign:
Eventully, the line started moving and a while later I was up near the entrance, and, again, the LaRouchies, who were now singing fucking choir songs:
Finally, after being made to throw my sign into a pile of other signs, I was in. I saw a woman with a dress made from boxing gloves to "knock out the lies" about national health care. She did get on the Herald website. She can be seen here with one of the cards used for the Q&A. If your number was called, you got to ask a question:
My seat ended up being all the way back here. I thought it kinda sucked until I heard that there were about 2,000 other people packed into the gym. Here's the view, standing up, from my seat:
Finally, Kerry took the stage. I was rather impressed by most of what he said and how he said it. Where was this side of him in 2004? The crowd was mostly civil, only getting mildly unruly a couple of times when one guy talked about insuring illegal immigrants and that if you removed them from the numbers "only a few million" Americans were uninsured. Kerry hushed them up though and made sure things remained civil. Another woman talked about her fear of government-run health care, then admitted to being on Medicare. Sadly, my number wasn't called and I never got to finally say "Excuse me, senator," or say the insurance companies were making Democrats do barrel rolls or make him promise not to vote yes for any bill unless it contained a public option. He promised a lot of things at the end, but sadly he didn't promise that. When I got outside the LaRouchies were still there and still singing, this time it was "Battle Hymn of the Republic" next to their giant ObamaHitler sign. I knew what I had to do. I grabbed a discarded sign, turned it around, and used a pen borrowed from a passerby to make this:
I then stood behind them with this sign held over their heads. I got a lot of good reactions. Eventually, the LaRouchies noticed me too, and one of them started talking to me. We engaged in a rather long conversation with me still holding the sign up, and of course when I told him he had his facts wrong or X didn't equal Y, he merely ignored me and kept talking about forced euthanasia, rationing and uh, not kidding here, going to Mars. Some lulz ensued when the garbage men called to throw out all the discarded signed started throwing out their Obama = Hitler posters. The guy I talking to me ran over to stop them and I seized the opportunity to GTFO. As I walked off, I heard him yelling "IF YOU SUPPORT OBAMA, GRANDMA'S GONNA END UP IN THE GARBAGE TOO! SHE'LL BE RIGHT THERE, IN THE GARBAGE!"
The garbage man replied, "That's fine, as long as that's where she wants to be."