Hillary Speech At UWM Was Chaotic Affair

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I went to the Hillary Clinton rally at the UW-Milwaukee campus last week as much out of opportunity as curiosity.

Why appear here and why now? Tactical reasons? Talking to the base? Fundraising?

2FullSizeRenderFrom where I stood, at the end of a very long line that snaked west along E. Kenwood Ave. and turned north at N. Hartford Ave. here appearance was a chaotic affair. I teach a class at UWM and knowing I’d be on campus replied to an invitation to go which was confirmed the next day.

But the threat of rain – it drizzled a bit – moved the event from a larger plaza that might accommodate everyone to a smaller room on the third floor of the Union. To get into the building one passed plenty of cops and posters of aborted fetuses carried by vocal pro-lifers. Four young men drove by shouting insults.

If you climbed to the third floor to get into the speech there was a winding rope line of hopefuls waiting to pass through metal detectors even after the speech had begun.

RSVPs were apparently meaningless. A spillover crowd of hundreds filled the Union lobby and lined the staircase to watch and listen to a live stream of the event projected onto a screen on the main floor.

But since it was a public space the crowd was peppered with in-your-face protestors. Can you just answer this, insisted one as he handed you a slip of paper asking for one thing Hillary did as Secretary of State.

There were Rand Paul supporters. One sign asked “Did you get my email,” in reference to a lingering scandal.

There were signs reading “Hypocrisy,” with the H in the image of Clinton’s campaign logo. “What difference does it make,” asked the sign carried by a protestor not apathetic enough to stay home.

And there was shouting that made listening to the speech impossible. It saddened and angered me.  You were far less likely to have a conversation than a confrontation with someone who wanted to tell you how wrong you were. No meeting in the middle there and trying was too exhausting.

I can’t speak for the crowd inside the speech, but I felt trapped inside a broken process.

So I went to Oakland Gyros.

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