Saturday, March 11, 2006

Standing, Shivering, for Patrick

A couple thousand folk made the Deval Patrick rally this noon out the back porch of Boston City Hall. In Faneuil Hall, which has hosted both fiery revolutionaries and plodding machine pols, he was definitely in the former category.

If others don't cover his speech well, we can post highlights. Meanwhile, we can be your Deval groupie in the street. The first post we saw (captures it fairly well) was at Under the Golden Dome.

Overall, we left feeling very sanguine about his shot at the office and the commonwealth's opportunities as a result. For God's sake, he's up against to all appearances 1) a done-nothing sorority girl and 2) the DINO mortician. Better orators than Patrick have thumped the dais and thundered from the Faneuil Hall stage, but among the three, there's no contest in either content or style.

We headed over the noon rally, figuring that a little after 11 would be fine. Honk. Squeeze the wheeze. Not so. We ended up snaking about four U-turns by the Adams' statue, then around the side and front of the building. You probably would have had to be there by 10:30 or so to get in.

Well, they anticipated an overflow crowd and had speakers and mega-sports-bar sized screens to telecast the speech to us slugs who slept in, or in our case, went to the Haymarket, Victoria's diner and Stop & Shop before heading in. After all, we had all that time. Hardy har.

Things we saw, heard and experienced:
  • The Deval staff was in psychedelic lime green Ts, with TEAM PATRICK LEADING TOGETHER. The 20-somethings wore them, while some of the older men kept on sports jackets and used the shirts as insulation against the splinters of the sign sticks.
  • The crowd was very well mannered, seemingly a mix of city and suburban.
  • They were largely white folk.
  • What was missing were what the polls show, few college students, maybe one in 10 was black, a smattering of (warning: following word is offensive to some; see comments) orientals and almost an absence of Latinos.
  • Quite a few of the 30-something and 40-something parents dragged one or two kids along.
  • We guessed that the average age among the 1,000 or so we saw was 40.
  • A suburban, privileged moment repeated several times near us. An overly perfumed, overly jeweled, too colorfully dressed (from Lord & Taylor from the looks) matron waved tickets. One showed at 11:40, loudly put out that her free ticket did not allow her to bypass the line. "But what if you have tickets?" she asked several times. Similarly when we retarded hundreds huddled against the wind like Wyoming sheep, another of the same ilk waved her tickets and said in disgust, "A lot of good these did." (Where the hell does that sense of entitlement come from and how disappointing life must be to them too often.)
  • Also missing from the snaking polloi were those with umbilical chandeliers and arrays of facial piercings.
  • A bed haired, disheveled blonde staffer was the most sincere and considerate of all. She kept reappearing every few minutes to tell us that those inside were seating so that they could figure out how many more to let in, that all of us would be able to attend the rally one way or another. She was a gem.
  • We hoped to see Lynne and Susan and other bloggers from far lands, but did not. We bet they got there on time and left from different of the three chutes exiting than the one we could view.
  • Secretary of State candidate John Bonifaz' advance lady handed out literature and answered questions about him. He followed 50 feet behind. He said the right things to us when we identified ourselves -- "I enjoy your blog and appreciate the subjects you cover." He could have used identical words with any blogger. We don't care.
  • Patrick showed up just in time from other appearances to schmooze with the news cameramen and talking heads.
  • Meanwhile, they had routed all of us stragglers to the front of the Hall and the jumbo monitors. We filled the whole courtyard area between the Hall and the Market. What, 600 chilly souls?
  • The front sidewalk was sunny and felt like late spring. We shuffled and pranced for warmth in strong winds and shade, making it feel like 25. It says a lot about the hope for his candidacy that few left for over two hours.
  • Unlike a typical political function for a machine politician, this one had few braying sorts. We heard two pockets of self-important Democratic Party types yelling for others to hear how they knew this person or that or had been to this or that functions. Asses.
  • The monitors began with the feed inside the Hall of one person after another introducing everyone but Patrick. As befitting the campaign, they started with ordinary volunteers, leading to U.S. Rep. James McGovern.
  • He was a very funny guy, starting by talking about his foot cast as proof of how dangerous it was to fight Republicans in Washington. Later while filling the time for Patrick to come from his speech to the shivering masses, he included one of being at a Washington ceremony with a 21 gun salute, and Dick Cheney returned fire. Bada bing.
  • Next up was Diane, Deval's wife. She and hubby share a sincerity and intensity that will play well. It was the first time we had seen her.
  • Deval is not a slick speaker, but his message is honest, fleshed out and well delivered. Again, if the other blogs don't cover the content well, we shall augment it.
  • Meanwhile, let's be shallow. For appearances, we like that Deval and Diane don't look like sticks with painted eyes and glued-on hair. They are not ectomorphic glamour pusses. In fact, they might make a nice ceramic salt-and-pepper set. They are physically solid, short and substantial. You can believe that they enjoy life, and food, and each other.
  • Deval also has the best story of the three real candidates, in many ways. While Tom Reilly tries in his funereal way to portray himself as plain folk, Deval came from the Chicago projects with a single mom. He was the first of his family to go to private school (on scholarship) or college (Harvard on scholarship). He has a great vignette of how he shared a bunk bed with his sister and mother. Every third night, each of them took the floor in turn.
  • We stood for hours in the cold for him and the sense around us was that every clap we slapped was a real as Deval.
  • We left thinking again that Deval has the train with room to get all of where we should be. There are a couple of other kids named Tom and Kerry pulling around their little red wagons.


Mark D. Snyder said...

You shouldn't say oriental - that term is only about 50 years out of date and offensive.

My boyfriend is no rug.

massmarrier said...

Sorry you guys are offended.

I spent part of my childhood in Japan and have many Japanese friends and acquaintences. I have Chinese friends. Maybe its our ages, but they intermix referencing themselves and relatives as "Japanese," "Chinese," "Oriental," "Asian," and so forth, with or without the "-American." Likewise, my Cochiti brother-in-law and his family refer to themselves as "Indians," even though some from his pueblo and folks from various tribes and nations refer to themselves with other terms and dislike "Indian."

I know families in the South in which the really old people still refer to themselves and others as "Colored." Now there's a word that fits your definition of 50 years out of date. Their children lean toward "Black," and their grandkids to "African American." Fortunately for peace in those families, no one seems offended if granny uses the term they don't.

susan said...

Great wrap-up. Sorry I didn't run into you there. We blogger-types need to do a better job of picking rendezvous points. I missed out on seeing a lot of folks. :-)

btw - the crowd outside of Faneuil Hall might not have seemed diverse, but inside it was a mix of all types of folks. Michael Forbes Wilcox got some great pictures inside the hall.

massmarrier said...

Yes, I figured we'd be thigh to thigh in a crowded hall. I don't know the next time we'd be likely to have an occasion in your neighborhood. Maybe we can get together at Deval's inaugural.

Anonymous said...

Umm, yeah the term "oriental" is offensive, especially when it's not even capitalized. Mark D. Snyder was doing you a favor when he pointed this out, yet you got defensive and gave a him a bunch of excuses. As a person of color (not just someone who is friends with them)I think it's very important that you use the best possible language: Asian, Asian-American, or API.
And it's Patrick, not Partrick.

massmarrier said...

Well, Andres, you're welcome to keep on kicking.

I left both my original in, with the criticism, for good reason. Defensive, bullshit! I provided more context, plus an apology for offending. That's an exchange and will remain out there for everyone's consideration.

I was raised as a Protestant. I have to carry my sins forever.

As for typos, you're also welcome to find them. I'm sure there are quite a few in the many postings. Even when I see one, I'm apt not to go back and correct it. Precision is a plus, but ideas trump nits.