Patty and I drove to St. Augustine this morning for the Romney event. It was a rejuvenating trip, not because we saw Romney, but because we were a part of the crowd.
Driving into St Augustine around 7:20 we were surprised at how light the traffic was. Surely the Presidential candidate could draw more supporters than this, even on a Monday morning, we thought. Then we turned right onto King St., where we saw a steady stream of pedestrians crowding the 4' wide sidewalks as far as our eyes could see. At 7:30, we were late for an event that was scheduled to begin at 8:00! I drove as far as the local police would allow-I think it was Cordova- then turned left in a search for a parking spot. All side streets were filled, so I turned left on Carrera, expecting to go back to U.S. 1, find a remote spot, and hot-foot it back to the college. We lucked out and found a spot just 3 places east of U.S.1., and walked back toward the college.
By then, the line had snaked its way down Carrera St as well, and wound down Carrera to Riberia to Valencia to Sevilla before turning east on King St. Fortunately, as we approached Savilla, the crossing guard directed us across the lawn toward the event area. This part of the lawn accommodated about 1000 people, and the rest were directed on their way toward King St and the controlled entrance. We did get to see the motorcade and Romney waving from the bus. There was no way to see the stage from our vantage point, but we sure saw, felt, and enjoyed the crowd.
The crowd, mush to my surprise, WAS YOUNG! Anyone who thinks our efforts are futile because the younger generations- those who will be the victims of the debt we are building- do not care, needed to be there. The crowd ranged from newborns to geezers, and no group was dominant. They were alive, engaged, and concerned about their future and the future of the Republic. Unlike the other party's mindless pep rallies with empty chants from the cheerleaders, this was a sober, serious, yet hopeful group of real Americans.
I would guess the crowd was around 10,000. I did count half a block and came up with 735, and every block we saw was as full as that one. The lines of people passing through screening continued through the end of Romney's speech, and at that point I could still not see the end of that line. It would have been great to have had a news helicopter shooting footage of the event and showing the true picture of the crowd, but alas, I guess all news choppers were busy covering a flat tire on the Interstate.
On a disconcerting note, security seemed extremely deficient. I saw no rooftop spotters, upper story library windows across from the stage appeared unsecured, and the general lack of that "Wow, this place is really nailed down" feeling was disconcerting. With the amount of hatred and divisiveness pumped into the election by this administration, the security measures seemed inadequate.
We did see 1 obama supporter holding a sign reading "3 generations of Romneys and no military service? Where's the love-of America?" Nobody wasted a a single breath on the fool.
It was a very refreshing, worthwhile trip, if not to see Romney, to see so many REAL Americans.