The Corner

Pa. For W.

I am a northeast Pennsylvania resident who also happens to work up the road

from the stadium where Bush made his first post-convention appearance.

As expected, security was tight, traffic was a nightmare, and those of us

who had to work had to find ways to get around it. To make it possible I

left for work at 5 am this morning. Since we’re a bank operations center, I

just didn’t have the option of saying “another day, time to play hooky.”

Groggy and tired, I arrived at the location at 5:45 and was amazed to see

the traffic already backing up. The poor officers who arrived at 4:30 am to

handle a Presidential appearance at 9:15 were smiling and waving us on. The

organization as they tried to route those of us who had to get to work and

at the same time direct those who were determined to get to the stadium was

difficult, impossible at times, but well-done and determined.

And I found I was astonished. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is a renowned

Democratic stronghold, run by a political machine that’s been in place for

decades. Where did all these Republicans come from? How did they fill

every one of the 18,000 seats they could? Why would 18,000 people (and more

if they could have) come out in the pre-dawn darkness to hear a speech? Why

did students from the University of Scranton arrive at the airport at 12:30

this morning to greet the President and First Lady and show their support?

Why did even more crowds see him off at the airport this morning – unable to

get to the stadium but needing to cheer him on?

Why did the total number of protestors at the stadium, in this Democratic

town, number 3 whole people? Even the newspapers seem incredulous.

And then it occurred to me. There’s a base of support that’s farther and

wider then realized. That people are quietly supporting Bush, keeping to

themselves because they’re unwilling to find themselves a part of the

vitriolic smear and attack debates launched by those who hate him. That

they walk away from political argument because you can’t talk to someone who

rants, but their silence doesn’t mean agreement.

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