So I did. Or tried to. But by the time I arrived around 2:15 the neighborhood around Capital was already parked up and even streets far from the campus were already lined with cars and filled crowds of people walking towards the campus.
So I parked even farther, about 3/4 away,
An dim-witted maneuver at best, thought I.
But of course I didn't say anything. What good does arguing do? Nobody changes their minds.
At 4:30 the program began with half-a-dozen opening speakers: a young Hillary field organizer, the mayor of Bexley, several candidates running for local offices,
President Obama spoke eloquently, as he always does, with wisdom and plenty of humor, at one point talking about the World Series between The Chicago Cubs and The Clevelad Indians, reminding us that if we had time to pick up one of the free tacos that Taco Bell was giving away because Cleveland's Francisco Lindor stole a base in the World Series, then we had time to go vote. Make it a combo, he said, get your taco then vote, nourish your body and your soul.
When he spoke of Donald Trump and the crowd erupted into boos Obama chided us not to boo, but to vote instead. He continued to remind us whenever necessary to stop booing, that booing doesn't help, voting does.
Obama spoke of many issues and ideas, but my favorite moment occurred when a man close to the front pulled out and doffed a "Make America Great Hat" and shouted support for Trump. Once again Obama chided us not to boo and welcomed the Trump supporter. Obama then spoke to the man, saying that he looked like a nice guy with a nice smile, asking him if he really wanted for president a person who disrespected women, who called women pigs, slobs, and worse, who cheated workers, who defrauded students, who wanted to ban a whole religion. The President also assured the Trump supporter that he should not delude himself that Trump would change his ways if elected President.
"Who you are, what you are does not change once you occupy the Oval Office," Obama said. "The only thing this does is it amplifies who you are. It magnifies who you are. It shows who you are."
Hence if a man disrespected women before he was elected he would still disrespect women when he was president. If he tolerated Klan supporters before, he would still tolerate them as President. And Obama posed the question to the Trump supporter that if a person made threats before he was elected, what would he do once he had the power to carry out those threats? Obama warned that we can't make what Trump says the new normal.
The President went on to talk about Hillary Clinton and how it was working with her as Secretary of State, how capable she was, how she never complained, what a prolific worker she was, how she always knew what she was doing, how working with her made him a better president. Through his words one could actually visualize he and Hillary, two real human beings, working together, talking together.
The President admitted that Hillary Clinton has made mistakes, that he's made mistakes, that one can't spend many years in public service without making some mistakes, but that Hillary Clinton is a fundamentally good and decent person whose heart is always in the right place and who believes in doing all the good you can for all the people you can for as long as you can.
He also pointed out that Hillary is consistently treated differently than any other candidate has ever been treated and he credited this treatment to her being a woman. He then spoke to the men in the audience, pointing out that when a man is ambitious and works hard we we think it's a good thing, but when a woman does the same it can be a little hard to accept and we wonder, "what does she want to do that for?" He said that a lot of the problem is just not being able to get used to the idea of a woman being President.
President Obama closed by sharing with us how his love for our country has grown over all the years that he's served as President. "You do this for a while," he said, "and your love for your country grows and grows."
He told us that if we believe in this country we cannot be cynical, and so he urged us not to be cynical, to reject mean-spiritedness and divisiveness, to instead choose progress over the next four years, the next eight years, the next twelve years. He said that being a citizen gives each of us power, and he warned us not to give away our power.
Finally, he reminded us that we have the chance to make history and not to let it slip away.
His final words were, "Choose hope! Vote! God Bless You Ohio, I love you!"
And we loved him back.