WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- Presidential events are tightly controlled festivals of messaging, security, and cant. A crowd full of people holding home-made signs looks nice, but incoherent. Better to give all of the faithful identical banners, so the cameras capture nothing else.
In the overflow section of today's Obama rally, some wily supporters got past the strictures by messaging on their hands and event tickets. The preferred message: WE ARE THE 47%. Basu Shrestha and his wife arrived early at the rally, then stuck "WE ARE THE 47%" tickets above their eyeglasses.
"I pay income tax," said Shrestha, "but I'm holding this up out of solidarity. The president's looking out for a lot of people."
Obamanians can't get enough of the 47% message. Diminga Gomez, a naturalized citizen who came to the U.S. from Gambia, told me that she'd voted for George W. Bush in her first election, 2004. "And what did I get? I'm homeless now." She lived with a friend as she got her nursing certificate and paid for her kids' from her salary as a bus driver. "Romney, he writes me off. Obama, he's given me opportunities. My kids look up to him. They go from B students to getting As."
Standing at the other side of the baseball diamond, I met a voter who introduced herself as "Beverly Reader, M.D.," and wanted everyone to know that she was one of the 53 percent. "I make $300,000, and I'm ready to pay more taxes. I don't think people who make less than me are lazy."
(Photo by David Weigel)
TODAY IN SLATE
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore
And schools are getting worried.
Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War
Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough
So they added a little self-immolation.
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.