Wednesday, February 20

Obama in Dallas

At least once in my lifetime, I decided I should attend a political rally. Today was the day: Democratic candidate Barack Obama visited Dallas and spoke to a capacity crowd at Reunion Arena in Dallas.
Reunion Arena is where the Dallas Stars and Mavericks used to play, before the American Airlines Center opened. Now, it's relegated to a few weeks a year (concerts).
I took the DART train to Union Station (about a half mile walk from Reunion Arena), arriving at 10:30am -- then later heard that people started arriving at 4:30am, to be at the front of the line. By the time I arrived,the End of The Line was on the fourth floor of the adjoining parking structure. It reminded me of a bad (read: typical) day at Disneyland, where the line to any ride is often 1-2 hours long. And then, when we got to a certain point, the 6-across line turned into a single-file mad dash for the door, several blocks away (by then, there was no security to be seen).
Update (Friday):
Secret Service defends security at Obama rally in Dallas
"Capacity" is listed as somewhere between 16,626-19,000 depending on configuration, so I'm not sure how many people were there .. but I do know the Fire Marshall was turning some people away (there were people on the return train telling of their experience). In front of the stage was a tightly-packed standing section, with the TV cameras elevated behind them. Then there were 22 tables setup for the press (presumably) in front of a large "no man's land" on the arena floor.

Most of us were seated in the arena seats, above the floor. Here's the (zoom lens) view from my seat, so high up that I could touch the ceiling of the arena. At least the JumboTron was working.

Since the NBA was routinely able to seat 17,000 people in Reunion Arena in under an hour (for many years) it's obvious to me this "line around the building and waaaaay into the parking lot" was done to look good to the cameras (TV news helicopters hovering overhead, and still photographers carefully placed to make the crowd look more energized than actual).

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