Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama's Secret Service Badasses

Some of you may know that I went to see Barack Obama speak at a campaign rally during the Democratic primary race last November; I bring it up now because I've had dozens of people tell me since then that they think that there is a very real chance that the man will be assassinated if he wins the presidency next month. Whenever I hear this I relate to them this letter written by a reader at Andrew Sullivan's blog about that night:

I went to hear Barack Obama speak tonight in San Francisco. The crowd was huge, the lines were long, and (reportedly) the Secret Service was slowing things down by searching everyone exhaustively at the door. It was painfully obvious that I probably wasn’t going to be admitted in time to hear the speech.

Then the police cleared the street next to the one I was waiting on, putting up “do not cross” tape. Childishly, I thought “I may not get in to hear the speech, but at least I’ll see the motorcade”. When the motorcade did come roaring down the street, it suddenly stopped.

Someone had told Senator Obama that huge lines of supporters had little or no hope of getting in to the main event. He left his motorcade, walked on foot down the street towards the crowd, and gave a ten minute impromptu speech for those waiting in line.

And it wasn’t fluff, either - he unequivocally promised to close Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus and the constitution. A small thing, maybe, but a major contrast with his main competitor’s unconcern with tipping her waitperson.

Another minor point - I have read in more than one place that older African-Americans are reluctant to vote for Obama because they believe that if nominated, he will be assassinated. I wish they could have seen the Secret Service as they accompanied Obama tonight. They were the most intimidating sight I ever saw. I had no doubt whatsoever that they were totally prepared to either die in the senator’s defense or shoot me on sight if I appeared to pose a threat. Nothing on earth would have induced me to provoke them.

This person must have been standing fairly close to me in line that night because the experience they describe is pretty much identical to my own; while he was speaking to us outside the Civic Center I was about 8 feet away from the man with only a row of people and the Secret Service between us and let me tell you, the description of the agents above is right on the money. It's comforting to know that there is at least one branch of the federal government that actually works the way it's supposed to (the picture at the top of this post is of a Secret Service agent at Obama's rally in North Carolina last Sunday).

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