Cross-posted from Hoosiers For Sarah Palin, with my apologies for not writing this up earlier. I also have a few pictures available at the other site.
I couldn’t think of a better reason for undertaking my first trip to Iowa than to attend the Restoring America rally held in Indianola by the Tea Party of America this past Saturday, highlighted by the keynote speaker of the event, Sarah Palin. Being the Indiana coordinator for Organize4Palin, it was more than a golden opportunity. I deemed it a necessity to go.
The pundits, the analysts, the so-called experts we all see on the airwaves or whose opinions we read on the Internet, all believed Sarah would give an announcement (Karl Rove expressed confidence in this during one of his countless appearances on Fox News). More than that, some people I know were hoping she would announce a run for President (more out of impatience than anything else). From what I had heard, though, an announcement was the last thing any of us should have seriously expected or hoped for.
The day before I left for Iowa, I checked the weather forecasts for the Indianola area, discovering expectations of scattered thunderstorms throughout the following Saturday. This would’ve been a good time to make sure I was packing an umbrella, but I ultimately didn’t bother to bring one along, suspecting the weather predictions could be wrong. Traveling with my parents, we made the 500+ mile trip to Iowa, eventually arriving at the Indianola Balloon Grounds by 8:30 Saturday morning.
A line of people awaited us at the front gate, some of them (I later discovered) had spent the previous night at the site. My dad noticed few of the license plates on the cars there came from Iowa. There were clouds in the skies, but the sun came out not long after we passed through the gate. The day was starting out to be a good one.
Like A Mailman
One of the great opportunities I was able to take advantage of during the rally was to be meet in person many of the diehard Palinistas, such as Karen Allen (Mama Grizzly #2 herself), Peter Singleton (the Iowa co-coordinator), Thomas Schmitz (the California coordinator), David Powell (the Ohio coordinator), Martha Cano (of O4P-Texas and Palin Promotions), and many others, all dedicated enough to travel as far as they did to Iowa. Gathered at the O4P tent, we were organized for volunteer work, namely signing up new members as they arrived for the rally.
By 9 a.m., I was out there asking attendees to sign up and join O4P. Many of them I asked, it turned out, signed up at the front gate thanks to other diligent volunteers (thank God for them), some said no and one person signed up. Not too long after we began the task, however, the rain began to come down. The error in my judgment in not bringing an umbrella along came back to bite me right on the butt.
Most of us sought shelter as the rain, along with the thunder and lightning, continued with its visit to the area. Umbrellas showed up instantly, as did plastic coverings, but for those of us with neither, we had to wait as the rain came down in greater steadiness with intermittent flashes of lightning and sounds of thunder. Despite the change in weather, cars continued coming into the parking lot (I later discovered people who left the grounds simply just waited in their cars until the rain let up and they returned, some with umbrellas!). In my case, thanks to the kindness of a couple of Good Samaritans, I had a plastic covering and could continue to take signatures.
The rain came and went, and it was a challenge to keep the signup forms dry, but those of us still able to sign people up continued on as if we were mailmen, not allowing either rain or snow or heat or gloom of night to keep us from enlisting new members. Looking back, it surprises me that most of the people who signed up did so even as the rain was coming down! Meanwhile, the rally began at 11 a.m., with plenty of entertainment for the growing audience and a bevy of speakers whose words resonated with the audience. By 1 p.m., the volunteer work was done and we were on our way to the stage and Sarah Palin.
“For Strippers And…”
The plastic covering had done its job well, albeit the bottom of my jeans were wet and my shoes were soaked. It wasn’t long after I sat down on my seat when a short video of Sarah began running. A few minutes later, we became a roaring crowd when Sarah appeared on the stage. Shouts of “RUN SARAH RUN” filled the air.
The message of Sarah’s speech resonated with all of us, with her focus on the failure of the policies of the Obama administration, the need for an end to crony capitalism, and stopping the massively increased spending now; for an end to Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of America and the need for the fundamental restoration of America. During the speech, she brought us out in laughter when mentioning the value of polls by saying, “they’re for strippers and cross-country skiers”. I have to confess I missed the last part of that statement; my one-track mind got the better of me.
The most important part of the speech was her five-point plan: Enforcing the 10th Amendment to our Constitution, repealing ObamaCare, an end to the increasing debt and addressing entitlement reform, increased domestic energy production, and eliminating federal corporate income taxes, followed by ending corporate welfare and loopholes.
The reaction of everybody at the rally was euphoric, highlighted by shouts of support for a Palin run in 2012. No announcement was made by Sarah one way or the other about a Presidential run, as I expected.
Back Home Again In Indiana
A long trip back awaited myself and my parents, so we were on the road by 2 p.m. heading for home. I wish I could’ve been able to say hi to Sarah, but dozens of people instantly crowded around her when she got off the stage and I didn’t have enough time to wait. On the whole, the trip to Iowa had been enjoyable; the sight of all that farm land was quite beautiful. I look forward to visiting Iowa again (after all, I need to visit John Wayne’s birthplace in Winterset!).
I had gone into the rally expecting an important speech from Sarah, and an important speech it was. Whether she will run or not in 2012 is still unknown to me, but I expect the announcement to come this month as all of us do. I left the rally reminded of a quotation from Sarah which appears on the O4P site: “The more support I see, the harder I want to work, and the more determined I am to not let folks down.”
With that, I close this chronicling of my recollections with a shorter quote from Sarah, which I spotted at Indianola.