Hello from the debate...
Submitted by Mary1on Tue, 01/24/2012 - 00:27.
I had to park about eight blocks from the debate forum, and as I walked to the forum I passed ONE guy in a truck with a Romney sign and MANY HUNDREDS of Ron Paul supporters with signs. My kids and I had our homemade signs, and a couple of RP people offered us their extra, very professional signs (and free bumper stickers, which I accepted for a couple of work colleagues that I have been working on...) We stood on the street outside the actual building where we understood the debate would take place from 6 p.m. In all that time, I saw a total of only 7 small signs for Santorum, 2 lonely little signs for Gringrich that were held by two guys in dark suits (spooky), and again, just on that one street, HUNDREDS of Ron Paul signs and supporters. They had megaphones and we chanted back and forth across the street. It was all in good spirits and there was no bad behavior. The Santorum guys slinked away, never to be seen again. There were SUVs that paraded past with Ron Paul laser signs. It was great.
While we were waiting, a lady wearing an ID from National Journal and the Tampa Bay Times came up to me and interviewed me. I think she was attracted to me because I was among the older folks sporting RP signs (and I had a wonderful, 3' x 5' sign for Ron Paul that we borrowed from a gentleman who must have a professional sign company; she took photos, so you might see me on National Journal with his handiwork). She asked me why I was attracted to Ron Paul, and I started by saying that a year ago I was an Independent voter, but I had known about Ron Paul and learned a lot about him this past year. I described his policies of limiting government spending and sound monetary policy, spoke a little about the Federal Reserve and the fact that while Americans protested the $700 billion in bank bailouts the Fed was secretly giving loans of $16 Trillion to banks, and of course the fact that Paul is against these undeclared wars and wants our troops to come back home, unlike the other candidates. Then she said that I must know Paul would not receive the nomination, and I responded that even if Paul did not receive the nomination (though of course I hoped he would and I myself will vote for him) that right now, all across America, there are discussions happening in every neighborhood about the Federal Reserve and whether we should be in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly soon in Iran, and that America might never go back to sleep again and that it was due to Ron Paul. That he has made a difference already.
She took my number and said she might call me back for a follow-up interview. I hope she does, because I've since thought of a hundred more things I wish I'd said. Sigh.
Then, people started yelling "He's coming! He's coming!" A few seconds later, at about 8 o'clock, there he was, right in front of me not ten feet away in a black SUV, the window down and Dr. Ron Paul right there waving and smiling. I felt like a groupie, yelling "RON PAUL!" along with a hundred college kids. I dropped my sign from clapping and tears were in my eyes.
My two daughters, 16 and 12, were less moved (they wanted the autograph). But we packed up our dozens of super brochures (there was no one to give them out to; the street was already full of them) and headed back. We got to keep the big sign (thank you, whoever you are!), and I plan to find a conspicuous space on private property ASAP where it can be displayed in my neighborhood of Gingrich/Romney supporters (sigh again).
What a great night.