mellicious: "I think the subtext here is rapidly becoming text." (Buffy quote - subtext)
mellicious ([personal profile] mellicious) wrote2018-12-01 07:06 pm

The Front Runner

There was an article once, about a political campaign event. This was in 1984. I think the article was in The Austin Chronicle, but I'm not sure about that, it was too long ago. (I might even have a copy of it somewhere, but I haven't looked for it.) The tone of the article was slightly mocking. It wasn't a very exciting event, that's for sure. Among other things it says that there was music. "Five people dance, " it said. You may have guessed by now that I was there. I was one of the five people who danced. I remember reading the article and saying, "Look, y'all, that's us!" and everybody else looked and laughed and agreed that, yeah, it definitely was. We were the only ones who danced.

In 1984 I was out of school and working at the libraries at UT. I would have been 23-going-on-24. Most of my friends were a little younger than me, some in grad school and some undergrads who were just dawdling - it wasn't at all uncommon to take 5 or even 6 years to finish your undergrad degree, if you had parents who would cooperate with that. If you've been reading here in past Decembers, you've seen me talk about going to concerts a lot - this was the period of my life when that most of that happened. I had a little group of friends I hung around with and we did a lot of going to concerts and going to clubs and eating out, the usual stuff for single people in their twenties. (And, if you're wondering about the five people dancing thing, we tended to dance as a group. We were mixed sexes and nobody was a couple. There wasn't always five of us, but when we went where there was dancing, we just all got up and danced without worrying about pairing off.) (I don't think that's unusual nowadays but thirty-odd years ago it still was.)

And we worked on Gary Hart's campaign in 1984. We didn't work on it very hard, mind you - we had jobs and school and all that. We weren't real campaign workers who were there all the time. Some of my friends may have been more involved, but I only remember doing two things - one of which was going to this event, which was at one of the big hotels down on Riverside Drive, and was on a weekend (at least I think it was a weekend) when Gary Hart was actually in Austin. He didn't come to the reception that I talked about above. I don't think we saw him talk or anything, either, because I think I would remember that, if it happened. But we did see him - we were on one walkway in the hotel and he was down below us. We waved and he waved back. That was it.

The other thing was that we gave out flyers or something on the day of the primary. I didn't enjoy that - I'm not good at talking to strangers, generally, much less accosting them with political stuff. Between that, and the way that Hart imploded later on (that happened in 1988, but I had to look it up because I had forgotten), I've never worked on a campaign again. I'm kind of a political junkie - I follow politics closely, and I donate money to various campaigns, but I've never quite been able to bring myself to volunteer again. These days I'm embarrassed to admit that, but it's true. Part of it is a deep-seated conviction that you can't trust individual politicians that came largely from having hitched my wagon to the Gary Hart train long ago.

(I don't know if I'll go see The Front Runner, the movie about Gary Hart. The reviews aren't that great, and I doubt that Rob would be thrilled to go. But it was because of the existence of the movie that it occurred to me to talk about this.)