Saturday, March 15, 2008


I'm just back from a trip to Indianapolis, where I saw Barack Obama at a town hall meeting. Wow, it was cool.

I am not normally the type to get giddy about much. The only other time I've been tongue-tied by a celebrity was when I met Tom Carnegie - my father talked to him, while all I could do was blink a lot and say "wow...oh, wow..." But I've been pretty wound up today - I started grinning as soon as I walked into the Plainfield High gym, and I haven't really stopped. I wasn't expecting this.

It was a small group - I think they said about 3,000 people, although that may have included the overflow space. The tickets disappeared in about half an hour, so I'm lucky that I was stalking my e-mail waiting for the Sock Madness pattern, and saw the announcement as soon as it arrived. Obama spoke for about 25 minutes, and then took questions for another 45. He lingered for a long time shaking hands, and collected a whole bunch of books to autograph, but I never got close enough for that.

I took a sock with me, of course - my first Zombie Sock for Sock Madness. I got there about 12:00 for an event that started at 2:30, and by the time I left at 4:00 I'd gone from just having finished the gusset to almost completing the toe decreases. My socks even appeared on the local news. (If you click on the "Barack Obama Campaigns in Plainfield" story, you'll see me knitting about a minute into the video.) So it was a pretty exciting event for the sock, too.

And I got to ask a question! I got to ask the next President (I hope) of the United States a question! I'd thought about it in advance:

"This may seem like a trivial issue, but I think it's metaphorically important. From the Lincoln Memorial, to the White House, to the Statue of Liberty, we've closed off access to some of the greatest symbols of our nation - you can no longer walk around the Lincoln Memorial, or go up in the Statue of Liberty's crown. We've given in to paranoia and called it security. (There was a round of applause here. I am so excited, even now.) What can you, as president, do to reverse this trend, and to return us to being a nation that values freedom more than fear?"

Barack responded by talking about his first trip to D.C. in the '80s, and how impressed he was that you could just walk up to the White House. He said he knew the need for security was important (and asked for a round of applause for his Secret Service agents), but that our openness was one of the things that made America great. He also said that the security policies should be reviewed, and that a related concern is the violation of civil liberties in the name of security - the warrantless wiretapping, and the suspension of habeas corpus. He said that one of his first acts as President will be to sit down with his Attorney General, go through all the Executive Orders that had been issued, and rescind those that were unconstitutional or violated civil liberties. So I was pretty I just want a president who will tell the TSA where to stick their 3 ounces of liquid restriction so I can carry wine on airplanes again.

I didn't manage to get a picture of Barack with the sock, but the sock did get to meet Nels Ackerson, who I hope is a future member of Congress. He's running for the 4th district of the House of Representatives, against a guy I've been wanting to see knocked out for quite a while. He has something of a local reputation, because he represented the NK Hurst Bean Company when the city of Indianapolis wanted to take and demolish their factory for the Colts' new stadium. He also seems like my kind of Democrat - tough on national defense, strong on civil liberties, and has a "don't be stupid" economic approach. Aaron says "isn't it funny that someone who's spent all these years working for Republicans is talking about voting for all these Democrats?" But he'd be my kind of Republican, too - I'm not picky about the party.

He said this was the first time he's had his picture taken with a sock. I resisted the temptation to tell him, "well, you've really hit the big time now." It's clear that he respects the sock, so he must be a good guy.

It's now time for me to sit down with a glass of wine, in hope that I can collect myself enough to get some sleep. Zombie Sock II will have to wait until tomorrow. Will it be jealous, one day, that its partner got to go see the President?


Blogger Saffista said...

I am jealous that the sock got to see the next president of the US. I signed up on the website, but I didn't get an email! Who do you know?

1:19 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Nels Ackerson is all you say, but it's the 4th District he's running in! Thanks for the shout-out to the bean company.


Jim Hurst - N.K. Hurst and Nels Ackerson for Congress Campaign Chair

1:44 PM  

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