Joe Biden made a stop in St. Louis last week on a sunny, balmy afternoon. He spoke at Mehlville High School in the heart of suburbia. When I arrived at the school there were police directing traffic, protesters with abortion signs across the street, button sellers at the corner and people everywhere.
Exhilaration filled my senses as I drove down Lemay Ferry Road scouring lots and streets for parking spaces. The lots filled, streets were jammed and businesses had posted threatening signs saying that if you parked in their lots the penalty was towing or imprisonment.
As I drove about, I contemplated the threatening signs and almost parked in a bowling alley lot anyway. I sat in the lot for several minutes finally deciding it was not worth a possible ticket, so I drove back up the street and tried again. When that attempt failed, I turned back and headed home.
I tried to justify my decision by saying it wasn't worth a two mile hike, that I was sparing myself the agony of being in a large crowd and possibly not finding a seat once inside. About half way home, my rationale failed and I turned back. I raced up the street and by a miracle, a space in one of the filled lots opened. I parked, and ran up the steps to the street.
A few people followed me as we scurried against the clock. We waited in line for security. Once inside, the time was upon us, and the volunteers indicated there were no seats left. By this time, I did not care. I was in. I felt the electricity buzzing around me and I blindly followed a worker who led me up the bleacher steps to a found seat.
Senator Biden rocked the house. He came out in his dark-colored suit, grabbed the mike and began to address the issues at hand. What impressed me was the way he explained, in human terms, how the Obama/Biden administration was going to actually effect change. He talked about health care and the ticket's desire to give everyone access to a congressional-type plan. He discussed Iraq and establishing a timeline with this country for our withdrawal. He spoke of Afghanistan, Georgia and Russia. He detailed a tax plan and college tuition challenges. He brought up job loss and its devastating effects, outsourcing and big company tax breaks. He addressed us as intelligent, thinking Americans.
I found myself standing up with applause, as many people did, many times. The woman beside me never stood up, never clapped and left early. I was not sure which side she was on, but at least she was there, listening and trying to determine if she agreed with the ideas or not.
When it was over and Joe Biden went around the floor shaking hands, I just stood there like a teenager at her first concert. Excitement and enthusiasm flared inside me and I knew this was a rare moment for me. I was a part of history with the simple act of attending and paying attention.
St. Louis will be the home for the Vice-Presidential debates. Biden and Palin will hammer it out. I think it will be worth it to get tickets and be part of another American first.