That night we were invited by the democratic committee to come to the rally in Philadelphia as VIPs. Hillary was speaking, The Obamas were speaking, Bruce Springsteen was performing and lots more. Hell yes! Even though there were supposed to be 20,000 people coming into downtown Philly, we wouldn't be in that crush, we'd be VIPs.
Our group of volunteers met up at the end of the VIP line. it stretched around three blocks. We stood there barely moving forward at all for a long time. We bought a lot of Hillary paraphernalia (not as varied as we would have liked) from a street vendor. I resorted to buying a huge (xxlarge) t-shirt with Hillary's beaming face over the title MADAME PRESIDENT. I thought I could wear it on election day, even though it was huge, if I kept my coat on. We ate sandwiches that one of our fellow volunteers had brilliantly brought and we waited. One hour passed. Then two. Every once in a while someone would come around and announce that if you were supposed to be on line A (the VIP line) you were in the right place. If you were not on that list you should go around the block to this other street. Somehow knowing we were on the VIP line, made us feel it was OK to wait for what turned out to be four hours, because no one else was getting in before the VIPs. Right?
Everyone went in before us. When we were closing in on the security tent I noticed that all the people who had been behind us for another block at least were not there anymore. Apparently they had all figured out that if they went to the other street they would get in immediately. I calculated there were only 75 VIPs still in front of us when someone turned on the news. Barack had just finished speaking. We had missed Bruce Springsteen, Michele Obama, and now Barack. It seemed like time to go. We didn't want to be part of the crush at the end of the rally when everyone was trying to leave. We grabbed a cab and heard Hillary's speech on the way back to our hotel. We talked about how if we'd been at a Republican rally, VIP status might have meant something. "Those fucking Democrats" we joked affectionately. But we were still assuming that the Democrats were going to sweep the election, down ballot candidates and all.
The next morning we woke at 7 in order to feed the dogs, walk the dogs, play a little ball with the dogs and then, if we still had time, have breakfast ourselves, before meeting at the Democratic office by 9. It was election day. All the intense anxiety that had been produced during this election would soon be over. Unless of course Trump contests the results and there is some violence from his constituents. Maybe they'll be true to their promise to try to impeach Hillary or put her behind bars. Or just prolong the agony with an uncertain outcome and bullshit recounts.
We knew we wanted to go back to Chester, the area where the lower income families lived. Although we were officially volunteers in the Swarthmore area, which was right across the street from our hotel conveniently so we just checked in there, told them we were going to Chester again. They said it was fine. They had So many volunteers. Driving past the lush lawns in front of Swarthmore college we silently congratulated ourselves that we were going to the "real" working class neighborhood to talk to the "real" people.
We turned onto our first street. Even though we were unsure of where the hell the first address was, we now knew better than to figure it out in the middle of the street, so we parked. We got out of the car and looked at the list of addresses again. I was wearing my new Hillary t-shirt with my coat open when a 10-year-old boy rode by on his bike and said in passing "there are only two Hillary supporters on this street. There and there." Then we looked around and noticed all the Trump Signs up and down the block. It was creepy.
A little later, on another street, we had a nasty run in with a gang of 12-year-olds. As I passed they said "ew, that's Hillary Clinton's face." I spun around. "What did you say?" I thought I sounded ludicrously tough but they weren't impressed. "Your shirt. We don't like Hillary Clinton." "Why? What's wrong with her?" I asked "She's going to get us into another war." This was from a young good looking boy. I said "I can understand that you think that way. You will grow up to be a middle aged white man." He looked down at himself and said "no shit, what's your point?" And I said "My point is, that those are the people voting for Trump so I get that, but you girls" ... I turned to two pretty girls that he was standing with. "Are you crazy? Do you know what a misogynist he is?" They looked at me like I was a batty old lady. Lynne stepped in "this is kind of a waste of time." I snapped out of it, and walked away. Why was I letting little kids get me so angry?
A few hours later we were coming to the last house on our list. We had taken the dogs out of the car so I held them on their leashes at the sidewalk. Lynne went up the steps and as there was no doorbell outside the screened in porch she went onto the porch to knock on the front door. Two girls about 8 and 10 opened the door and just as Lynne started to ask if their mother was in, a huge German Shepherd lunged at Lynne viscously barking and biting. Lynne was screaming " help, he's attacking me" and I'm holding our dogs on their leashes with Virgil and Scoop tugging and barking.
Neither Lynne or I saw who grabbed the dog finally, and dragged him back inside, slamming the door, but suddenly it was over. The attack had lasted for no longer than one minute but it seemed to go on forever as it was truly terrifying. Lynne limped off the porch. She was bleeding a lot on her upper forearm. She had probably used it to defend herself. There was a gouge on her stomach and teeth marks clearly visible. Big cuts on her legs. She said that at one point she had considered trying to take control and command him to sit or something until she looked at him. There was this blind hideous rage aimed at her. For no reason. "Maybe it was my hat. You know how some dogs just HATE hats. Maybe that was it." Lynne felt sure that if he hadn't been dragged away, he would have killed her.
She was in shock, so the pain hadn't come yet. We did all the things you have to do when there's an incident. She was taken care of medically and she filed a report. She was very concerned that the dog not be killed or the family held responsible. She just wanted them to know what he was capable of so no one else gets hurt. And she needed to know if he had all his shots. That's all.
But now we wanted to get back to the hotel for the party in the lobby that Leanne Krueger Braneky was throwing to celebrate the election results...