I have never been to a political rally before. So, over fall break I went to the DFL rally in the Leonard Center to see Hillary Clinton. It was a very interesting and hectic experience and I’m not sure that I would hurry to do it again soon. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the event. I did, thoroughly. It allowed me to learn more about Minnesota politics and made me care about the upcoming elections. I especially liked one statement that I heard, which suggested that the high cost of education has prevented people from betting on themselves and taking chances to do what they want and love.
Although the event got repetitive, as everyone emphasized the same issues, I enjoyed hearing the cheers for the importance of addressing climate change, the need for same-sex marriage and the right to abortion. However, there were some things said and done at the rally that I didn’t agree with.
One of the first speakers brought out was a local reverend who led us all in a prayer. Yes, the prayer was centered on the Democratic agenda and spoke more about issues such as climate change and same-sex marriage than God, but God was still mentioned.
This is where I have issue. I don’t really believe in God. So when everyone bowed their heads in prayer I felt I had to bow my head too and pray. I have never been good at this kind of thing. My mind wanders and I forget not to open my eyes and look up and then I feel incredibly disrespectful. So during this prayer I was looking around, making noises and feeling like an outsider, and I saw a few of my friends doing the same. The thing is, I understand and respect prayer when in a religious setting. This rally was not a religious setting. I also know that this was probably an attempt to make the Democratic Party seem more pious in response the to the Tea Party. Yet one of the reasons I support the Democrats is because they understand the separation between church and state. This did not feel like there was any separation.
The next thing that bothered me was the use of cell phones during the event. I thought it was smart for the campaigners to use cell phones and text messaging, especially at a college, but I didn’t like how the crowd used them. Full disclosure: I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I didn’t like that people had their cell phones up for long periods of time taking videos or trying to get just the right picture for Instagram. I thought it was disrespectful to the people behind them and it took away from what the speakers were saying. I know that when I took pictures or videos I had absolutely no idea what was being said. I became aware of my mistakes about five minutes into Hillary’s speech and decided to put my phone away and listen.
However, the devices and selfies in my eye line still completely distracted me. I don’t remember much of Hillary’s speech, partially due to the fact that people (including me) were taking pictures the entire time. I am a bit of a Luddite in that I am not a big fan of what technology does to the social aspect of society. It made me sad to see that so many people (again, including me) were more interested in proving that they had seen Hillary Clinton than in actually seeing and hearing Hillary Clinton. This is the age where nothing counts unless you have a picture to prove it on social media.
The last thing that annoyed me was what one of the speakers said. I believe it was Hillary Clinton who stated that “no one works harder than the American worker.” I hated this statement. It alienated all the international students in the room, probably making them feel a bit indignant. What makes the American worker so much better and tougher than every other country in the world? Why are we so much better than the workers in China or Spain or Ghana? Why do we get this gold star? We outsource to other countries. We rank below other countries in math and science. We work hard, yes, but not harder than any other country. The amount of hard work a person does depends on the individual; it is not a characteristic of an entire country.
This feeling of America being the best country in the world is a motivation for our imperialism and a reason we are disliked in other countries. I would like to hear what makes our workers so special. This statement shows that Americans need to stop their unconditional patriotism and look at what the United States has done and is doing. The government needs needs to address its mistakes so that they don’t happen again. We cannot continue believing we are the best country until we ensure that we are the best country and to do that, we have to look within.