It was August 2000 and my brother, the environmentalist, casually mentioned that he would be attending the Hillary rally in our hometown of Northport, Long Island.
My ears picked up. “What rally?” I asked, “There has been no mention of it on the news.”
It turned out the rally was “by-invitation-only,” and if I showed up, I would be “crashing” the party so to speak. My enthusiasm as a pro-life activist had him concerned. “Don’t get arrested!” he warned me, sternly. He knew I was no fan of Hillary’s.
The next day, I showed up at the waterfront park — not the one at the end of Main Street, where Hillary would certainly have drawn a crowd — but the more hidden but no less public park on a quiet lane to the harbor. I brought my daughters, ages 7 and 3, with me to ensure I would behave myself.
Since we did not have an invitation, we were escorted behind a double barrier of velvet ropes, far beyond the podium and seats, where about 50 invited guest and media were seated. I asked why we were escorted outside the area where Hillary was to speak and the lack of chairs were cited as the reason. My offer to stand at the back of the crowd was ignored.
As it happened, a number of uninvited locals turned up, and we grumbled about Hillary sectioning off a public park. My youngest daughter complained loudly about not being able to access the swings, which divided the “invited” section from the “uninvited”, and out of fear of a disturbance, the second set of ropes were removed. We were permitted to stand a mere 300 feet from Hillary.
As Hillary began her talk, reading from a notebook of laminated sheets, I peacefully unfurled a handmade felt banner, which displayed an image of Our Lady spreading her arms in prayer over the fish-shaped outline of Long Island. She seemed to momentarily stumble at the unexpected sight of a protester.
Instantly I was assigned a couple of large Secret Service officers. “Don’t worry,” I boldly joked, “I am a pro-lifer but I haven’t thrown a bomb in months.” This evoked a chuckle from them, and I was surprised to learn that this lady and gentleman were no fans of Hillary. In fact, after her talk they kindly arranged for me to be standing along the path she would take to her vehicle.
Having assured her invited guests of her affection for children and lobsters, Hillary wound up her stump speech, not by taking questions, but by giving autographs and photos to the press. It was a love fest without pesky inquiries about policy or experience. Not one of the invited guests seemed surprised; apparently those invitations came with instructions.
Soon Hillary was walking to her car in front of me and my frustration at her complete lack of interaction with the crowd got the better of me. I shouted at her back (she walked sideways the last 100 feet to her car in order to give it to me) “Hillary you can’t say you love children if you support abortion!” to which I received no response.
I looked into the windows of the van and repeated, “Did you hear what I said, Hillary? You can’t love children while you abort them?!” All the while Hillary was smiling to her adoring crowd and ignoring unofficial attendees.
Everyone knew in 2000 that the New York Senate seat Hillary was running for was meant to be a mere stepping stone to the presidency. Now she is officially in campaign mode again. Is it any wonder that she announced her campaign for the presidency in a similarly scripted event, with even more distance-keeping safeguards in place, so Mrs. Clinton will not be embarrassed by real questions from the people she says she means to “champion?”