I was super excited to hear that former President Bill Clinton was coming to Paul Quinn College a private historically black university in Dallas. My husband and I thought this would be a great opportunity for Emerson to see a living president and they are studying the presidents in school. Tony had to work which meant I had to take Emerson by myself. This doesn’t seem like much of a problem since E is nine years old, but it is always better with two of us.
Anyway, we get to the college and there is this crazy long line so we skip to where my sister, Toni, is standing. I am thinking there are too many people in this line and how are we all going to fit inside. Surely, they will have to turn some people around. Wrong!
THE VENUE, the student center, could not hold that many people or can it? Yep, if you make most of the people stand for the entire time. There were some booths on one side, some bleachers or chairs behind the platform for the students, faculty, press, and dignitaries, but the majority of us had to stand. Doors opened at 4:30 pm and some people were in line hours before that (that’s a lot of standing). The speakers started around 5:30 pm with Michael Sorrell, the President of Paul Quinn, Senator Royce West, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Congressman Mark Veasy, Dallas City Councilwoman Mary Alonzo, and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson who actually introduced Bill Clinton after 6:00 pm. By the time Bill Clinton took the stage I had lost most of my excitement and was sweating profusely due to having on my jacket (no room to take it off), the crowd, and my body (I start sweating when I stand too long!). 🙁
THE CROWD was standing room only. There were a lot of children and senior adults waiting, standing, to see the President. Yes, they could hear, but the whole purpose of a visit like this is for your child to witness, in their lifetime, hearing a president or former president. I believe this opportunity was lost because it really wasn’t an appropriate space . My son was tired, restricted in movements, and bored because he could not see over the adults. I saw a couple of kids sitting on the floor which I thought was dangerous since the crowd would shift and they could have been stepped on. Personally, I do not like big crowds especially when you are standing really close to people you don’t know and everybody is breathing and odors are emanating from their bodies. It was too tight for me.
THE RSVP meant nothing. The flyer and news reports stated to RSVP to the event. Cool! That must mean I am in, right? Not necessarily. While in line we were given a pass to complete with our name and email (sorta like the RSVP I completed online). It did not matter that I had taken the time to follow the directions and RSVP, no one even checked. SMH! There was no separate line or preferential seating for RSVP’ing. The only thing I received from my RSVP are the almost daily emails for the Hillary Clinton campaign!
All in all, President Bill Clinton’s visit to Paul Quinn College was a success. The faculty and students were able to be a part of a historical “Get Out the Vote” rally and visit with the former president–not many campuses can say that. The community and other Bill and Hillary Clinton supporters will never forget this event, but may have missed out on the “whole” experience. Don’t get me wrong it was cool being in the midst of one of the most popular presidents of all times, I just needed to be more comfortable. 🙂 Hopefully, in the future, the venue will allow for everyone present including the children to see, hear, and participate in the political process that is our civic responsibility.