First of all, I would like to put out there that I am NOT politically inclined. I don’t like watching the news and checking headlines; most of the time I try to pretend the real world doesn’t exist. I am a native Texan, raised by conservative parents, a Christian and college educated in the mountains of North Carolina. I am also in the entertainment industry- probably the MOST outspokenly liberal business in existence. My life is basically an oxymoron!
My current producer used an impressive guilt trip for getting most of our cast to the Joe Biden rally Saturday morning in Ft. Myers, FL. For those of you not familiar with this community, it is made up of mostly aging seniors and those of us trying to entertain them. I expected there to be motorized scooter spaces instead of bleachers at the event.
After fiercely judging the performer of the national anthem (I was with a group of musical theater people, what can you expect?), we turned our attention to the last few people to introduce Vice President Biden.
I will give this to the organizers – they were on top of their technology and efficiency to get people involved. Before even entering the rally hall I was asked if I was registered to vote in Florida (don’t worry, I registered) and had to fill out my vital information (email, phone number) as my ticket into the event. They outlined how to donate money just by texting a number on your phone, how to get text updates about the local events of the party, websites, Twitter, Facebook pages for volunteers and even highlighted some debate watching parties at the local headquarters next week. They even had volunteers standing by to help the elderly secure their vote by mail cards after the speeches.
Finally, it was time for the big event. Out of all the people in the last and current elections, Joe Biden has been a favorite of mine. I respect that he speaks his mind and doesn’t apologize for it (even though, at times, he probably should). He makes it a point to appear down to earth and relatable –he took off his jacket as soon as he hit the stage due to the heat.
The speech was nothing I hadn’t heard from the party before: a beginning praising the opposing party then promptly bashing them through the rest of the speech. This one was specifically tailored to the old people, so most of the time was spent on Medicare options and the national debt. I won’t get into my personal beliefs except to say I was disappointed that more wasn’t said about equal rights, which is one of the big issues between the Republican Party and me (as a woman and a supporter of my gay friends). Honestly, the quote from his speech which made the biggest impact on me was, “I don’t need your boos (in response to a Romney bash), I need your help!”
So, my advice is the same as his – get out there and at least vote! If you are so inspired, go volunteer! Don’t sit around and complain, get out there and do something. Now that I have sounded exactly like a personal trainer, I’ll leave you to the better ramblings of someone who is politically inclined. Hope you enjoyed my experience of the day.
Jessica is an actress currently performing in 9 to 5 in Fort Meyers, FL. You can view her personal website here.