Hillary Clinton brought her campaign to Mishawaka, IN on Friday just days after Obama's campaign decided that he will be opening up an office in South Bend, IN. Hillary Clinton planned to speak in South Bend, which has seen the likes of Bush quite often throughout the past seven years. But, the South Bend schools made an administrative decision that denied Hillary access to the South Bend school she had wanted to speak at. Mishawaka stepped in and offered her Mishawaka High School instead.
I have to admit that I was surprised when I heard that Hillary Clinton was going to be granted access to Mishawaka High School and would be able to speak to approximately 1,700 students as well as a couple more thousand people from Mishawaka and its surrounding area. My impression of Mishawaka is that it is a very depoliticized town and one that believes in “supporting the troops” with care packages to veterans, yellow ribbons, and God Bless America flag decals and above all, not questioning the direction a president takes the country in even if it is wrong. I didn’t expect people to be so excited and give Hillary the response that she received before, during, and after her speech.
South Bend denied her access to the school she wanted to speak at because the school corporation believed that would then mean they would have to allow McCain or Obama to speak at the same venue. I would have thought this would make Mishawaka avoid giving Hillary a chance to speak. But, with attendance and graduation rates at Mishawaka low and with it being necessary that students get educated and become leaders of this democracy, Mishawaka recognized that if all three wanted to come speak that would not be a bad thing but a superb opportunity for students, faculty, and the public of Mishawaka.
The event began early in the morning around 8 am as people lined up outside the school. News trucks maneuvered their way down a side street next to the school called Gernhart Ave. The news trucks turned the street into a parking lot and the road was closed to traffic.
People filed in and were seated for one to two hours prior to the beginning of this event.
At around 10:45 am ET, Sean Astin walked onto a platform and spoke to students, teachers, and the public. He received a great response as people found themselves spontaneously chanting “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy.” Astin’s presence added a dimension to the Hillary Clinton event that Hillary could never have added. He spoke about how “no voice, no actor means more than any individual American or individual citizen” and he came before people to say that his job is to help advance the discussion on what we as Americans are passionate about.
Sean Astin set a tone as he highlighted that for the first time in history Indiana has an opportunity to decide what happens in the Democratic primary. He said, “Democracy is about seeing something, getting involved, and doing something to get people involved.”( As I heard that, I hoped students would connect with that and be moved to become civically engaged.) And then he described how he lobbied Congress and met with Hillary prior to the Iraq war in an effort to get more money for arts in education.
He put Hillary up on a pedestal saying that he thought she is “very radical in how she wants to approach presidency” and that she will “shatter barriers like Eleanor Roosevelt.” There’s nothing radical about Hillary’s campaign for the presidency except for the fact that people are considering a woman for the presidency of the United States of America.
Astin stepped down and the music came on the loud speaker to further establish a tone for Hillary to come on and speak after. Stevie Ray Vaughan told the audience the “house is a-rockin’”, John Mellencamp told the audience to “Check It Out”, and Tom Petty told the audience that Hillary was an “American Girl.” And then, Hillary and her entourage of elected leaders and secret servicemen emerged from a tunnel for an audience which had been patiently and anxiously awaiting the presence of a celebrity politician. They were waiting for their star politician, Hillary Clinton, to take the stage and tell them all about the changes she was going to give them as president.
Hillary stepped onto the stage and let former governor Joe Kernan introduce her along with another Democrat, Patrick Bauer. Together, they further established that it had been 40 years since Indiana had a say in this election. Kernan also underlined the fact that Indiana has more National Guard members deployed than any other state in the union.
Hillary stepped onto the stage and began Day 2 of her Solutions for the American Economy tour which focuses on the middle class saying, “I want every Hoosier to know I’m going to fight for you---for your future.” She didn’t tell people that the majority of the people in attendance are not middle class and will never be middle class. This event was about empowering people to act and reality would have no place in the Solutions tour she was involving Americans in.
Hillary quickly showed what one of her primary solutions for America and Hoosiers would be as she spoke about keeping defense manufacturing jobs in Indiana and how Hoosiers should be the ones who manufacture equipment to keep troops safe. This manufacturing, she talked about, should continue through great businesses like AM General, which produces the best quality, safest armored vehicles on Earth for our troops who are in Iraq.
She brought on two Hoosiers to speak about unemployment and the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs in Indiana. They both spoke about how we need solutions for the American economy. And then Hillary took the stage front and center to declare that we need a Commander-in-Chief of the economy as well as a Commander-in-Chief of our military.
Hillary Clinton showed Hoosiers that her presidency would be one that would further develop this economy that rests on a military-industrial complex. Despite the fact that military equipment production requires war and that the nature of these companies demands that they seek to operate in countries outside of the U.S. because it is cheaper, she showed that she was going to continue to befriend defense contracting companies by conditioning the people of America to fight for the right to work for these companies even if they would have a better future with another job/occupation. (*Throughout the election, Hillary Clinton has been given the most campaign contributions from defense contracting companies like Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop-Grunman, and General Dynamics. These are the companies that Bruce, one of the two Hoosiers she brought to the platform to speak, was describing as being responsible for the outsourcing of jobs.)
The laundry list of solutions came out following Hillary’s words on jobs in defense manufacturing. She called for the closing of tax loopholes that companies outsourcing jobs exploit to their advantage (something John Kerry called for in 2004 along with other Democratic candidates). She called for the creation of a 21st century manufacturing belt by establishing more Indiana jobs in the steel industry (something Dennis Kucinich spoke about through his campaign that until now I had never heard any of the other candidates support). She spoke about establishing a Strategic Energy Fund for clean, renewable energy jobs in solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, and clean coal and how we need to make the creation of these jobs like the space race (something Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and John Edwards advocated earlier on; again, until now, I had never heard Hillary say she supported this). She spoke about removing subsidies from oil companies and how she voted against a Dick Cheney Oil Bill that Obama voted for (and she gave no title of this bill so I have to figure out what this is she was talking about). She spoke about investing in our infrastructure to build roads, bridges, etc. (something Dennis Kucinich talked about earlier on in the campaign and again, this is the first time I heard Hillary say she supported this).