Last Saturday’s rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden was more than just recitation of stale political rhetoric. While Obama and Biden’s speeches were laden with stale references to the middle class and change, the event itself may have actually had a positive impact on the University.
The ability of a school like UMW to secure an event of the magnitude of Saturday’s rally says a lot about the dedication of the members of the Mary Washington community.
Regardless of politics, it shows that we can pull together to make something incredible happen.
Mary Wash successfully provided a secure venue for an estimated 26,000 visitors to hear the insights of a political leader in person. Even if the rhetoric was stale, Obama and Biden did a good job playing to the down-home feel of a town like Fredericksburg. That we were able to make the democratic ticket embrace that feeling reflects the influence that even small state institutions can have.
As for those who criticized the setup of the event, the weather, or the content of the speeches, get over yourselves.
Of course it wasn’t comfortable to stand in the rain for four hours, but you could have bargained on that all day.
Of course it was stressful to be around that many people.
If these are the kinds of things that bother you, stay home and flip on the TV next time, you won’t miss much.
Individual comfort isn’t really the point of an event like Saturday’s. The point is to bring people together behind a single cause, to gain a good reputation for our school and to witness the political process as it happens.
If you’re afraid of mud, or porta-potties offend you, don’t bother showing up next time.
For those who did show up and stayed the whole time, the event itself was remarkable.
The candidates enthralled an enormous crowd, even through a driving rainstorm.
Obama and Biden themselves stood in the rain delivering their speeches at the same level of discomfort as the throngs of people gathered in Ball Circle or behind the toilets lining Campus Walk.
The simple fact is that the rally was a huge success and gained some much-needed good press for UMW.
It also proved that our lowly state institution can and will achieve great things.
It means more to the institution that the rally was a success than it does to anyone who attended, including the candidates.