Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Journey to See Biden: The View From Down Here

Amanda Walters

Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden came to give a speech here in Athens. The second I found out - after seeing it on Facebook - I knew that I had to be there. My boyfriend is a huge fan of the VP, despite Biden’s propensity for gaffs, so I knew I had to get us tickets

Thursday, I trekked to the Democratic headquarters on Court Street before class, thinking not many people would think to get the tickets the second they came out. 

Not only was I wrong, but getting the tickets made me over a half hour late to my first class. But walking into my Gender Inequality class with the blue tickets in hand was worth it.

The shuttle that took us to the speech was already crowded when we boarded, before the doors were even set to open. When we were taken into the Community Center, the small gymnasium was already fairly packed. We went through the line to get into the small room where the speech would be held.

When we got to the room, it was already half filled and I knew that there were a lot of people behind us. Not everyone who got tickets was going to see the speech.

One of the problems I have with speeches and concerts where people won’t be sitting is that I usually have a lot of trouble seeing. I’m 5 ft. even and it’s usually a struggle to see the person on stage, no matter how long I wait in line. If I’m any more than a few rows behind I’m usually out of luck.

Luckily this time, I was able to wedge myself in to a halfway decent spot before the Vice President started his speech. And standing for hours in line only to be on my tippy-toes during the actual speech, was well worth it.

Joe Biden is a great speaker. He knows exactly how to win over an audience. (In this case talking about football and the time he was almost arrested in Athens)

The speech itself had two purposes, to get students out to vote and to get the townies, most of which are democrats, excited about the election. In both these cases I think he did a good job.

He kept to the main points that he hit during his speech at the DNC last week, but also talked a bit more about policy. The students in the crowd went crazy when he talked about giving more Pell Grants to students who need the help to get to college.

Another thing that united the audience is when he talked about giving daughters the same rights that his sons have had.

While I believe that the speech was effective, I think that it could have gone over a lot better in a different setting. They were only able to give out about a thousand tickets and some of those people didn’t make it into the room.

If they had more time to get people excited, and given it outside, I think it could have been a bigger and better event. The area behind Mem-aud almost is begging to have an event like this.

Despite some pitfalls, I think that Joe Biden won over everyone in that small room.

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