May 5, 2016,
East Los Angeles, College – 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez Monterey Park, California 91754
HOW BAD TO YOU WANT HILLARY?
BAD ENOUGH TO TAKE THE RISK OF GETTING YOUR NOSE SMASHED!
It’s barely 10am but I’m already up and ready to hit the road. As I packed a few water bottles and some snacks in the trunk of my rental car, I took a deep breath from the crisp, dry Irvine air. The weather is always fresh in Irvine and the temperature always perfect! Runners would love this kind of weather, I thought, as a few people were running briskly along the street.
The unfamiliar car, unknown streets, driving in a crazy LA traffic, I felt nervous. Thinking of how poor is my sense of directions and how easily I get lost around my own town, I thanked God for the navigators!
Fifty-five minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself at the Monterey Park, CA, where the rally was scheduled. A long line had already been formed, I couldn’t see the end of it.
There were many police cars parked along the streets as I rushed through them. As soon as I reached the line, someone handed me a short form to fill out. On the top of the form it said: “Hillary can count on me, volunteering opportunities,” continued with a few questions about the volunteer’s name and address.
It was exciting to see Hillary Clinton. People came from all over California, some from other States, like me. Most people were talking and laughing while some already frustrated by the long line and the massive crowd.
It seemed like more than 500 people were ahead of me and even more behind me. I was told that there will be many of the Bernie Sanders’ supporters and warned me about the protestors but luckily I didn’t see any of them around.
Halfway through the line, there were a couple ladies, grilling hotdogs with a few people around them, waiting for their orders. The smell of the hotdog, grease, and the fries along with the smoke coming off the grill was nauseating. I was surprised they were even allowed to be there.
A woman holding a sign that says “No human being is illegal” walking alongside a man on a skateboard.
A young man with a blue shirt with ‘kittle brand’ written on it, offering free snacks to everyone. He had a cart-full of a variety of snacks. Everyone wanted one.
I’m looking at the beginning of the line and think it just doesn’t get any shorter!
Finally, an hour and half later, we got closer to the gymnasium. A half dozen of Hispanic men, wearing blue-green outfits, hats in hand, waiting for the event to start. These are the musicians, most of them holding musical instrument.
I took a picture of the musicians and sent it to the “HillaryClintonClub” that I’m a member of. We are about 1,300 members in this group and comment on each other’s posts, share thoughts, worries, news, and support each other.
I kept posting the event updates but unlike other times, I didn’t hear much from them. Only some “likes” and “thank you” messages. I was surprised then but later I found out that they knew something that I didn’t!
Around 4pm, I reached to the entrance of the gym. It looked small and already packed with hundreds of excited people, eager to see Hillary Clinton.
Waiting in line for the security check, the sweet smell of someone’s perfume, mixed with stale, sweaty, spoiled air brushed my face. It seemed a little hot and humid and I hoped for a better air system at the gym.
I was lucky to have had a chance to be allowed to enter the gym. There were hundreds of people behind me who couldn’t get in.
I squeezed myself through the sardined-style packed people and excused myself, pushed through them all the way to the left side of the room, a few steps away from the barricades. As I got there, I found myself in the middle of an argument. I felt the tension among a group of girls, exchanging some harsh words and pushing each other to the right and left. There were two women standing in front of me, one was a heavy set woman, seemed very angry and apparently was the center of the tension. The other was slim and tall, moving with the rhythm of the music front and back as she was stepping on my toes repeatedly and tapping on the floor with every beat of the drum.
From the beginning, I noticed these two women were texting, calling, and exchanging messages with a group of people standing behind us. They looked tense and worried but I didn’t think of much, because I was restless myself.
The time wouldn’t go fast enough for me, I kept checking the clock, anxiously waiting to see Hillary.
When the Latino band entered, everyone screamed and cheered. Some people knew the band and shouted their names, some even sang the lyrics along with them.
After the musicians were done, some speakers took the stage encouraging people to support Hillary Clinton. We clapped and agreed with the importance of voting for Hillary, we screamed “Hillary, Hillary,….” repeatedly.
The crowd’s enthusiasm got bigger and bigger as time went by. We kept asking each other, what time would she arrive.
Finally, the moment was here, HRC entered, wearing a light green jacket. The crowed burst with excitement and joy, screaming her name out “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, ….”
Her beautiful smile suddenly brightened the room, like a ray of golden sun in a beautiful Fall afternoon, touched us all, gave us a fuzzy warm feeling.
Her kind and gentle waving and greeting, her acknowledging the supporters across the room was unbelievable!
I was a few steps away from the stage, standing right by the barricades, listening to HRC so close, I could hear my heart beating like a drum, trying to skip out of my chest. It was the moment, our Hillary was here, my whole body had turned into ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ to look at her and to listen to her!
Suddenly, we were rudely interrupted by this boy, a few rows behind me, yelling: “liar, liar,” I turned around; he seemed like a fourteen-year-old boy with a nasty grin on his face, screaming while trying to hide his face behind the crowd.
I yelled at him: “stop it, what’s the matter with you?”
But he continued to shout. There was a tall guy standing next to that boy and looking straight ahead like nothing was bothering him. I told him “stop him, tell him to stop.”
The guy turned around and said something to the boy who stopped his rude shouting. I wondered if it was the boy’s father? I was disgusted with the thought of it. Are parents teaching children to disrespect HRC?
Calling her a liar? I’m so sick and tired of decades of endless accusations and lies made about Hillary. If you ask these people “what exactly she lied about?” they can’t say anything logical because they have heard it from others, repeatedly, and then they themselves have repeated it, believed in it, and used it against her.
What a pitiful world this is! I’m disgusted and nauseated with all this accusations. I’m sick and tired of those who try to taint Hillary’s name and portray her as a dishonest person. I pity you and feel sorry for you for trying to hurt and insult and disgrace a woman who has spent her entire life serving the country. I pity you and yes, I hate you for criticizing Hillary Clinton, blaming her for your own mistakes! May God punish you, liars, what you deserve!!
Halfway through the talk, I hear someone yelling:
“You killed Bertha, you killed Bertha….”
It took me a while to understand what this woman was saying. I was right behind her. Within seconds, I squeezed myself straight in front of her, my back to the barricades, held her arms and screamed at her: “stop it, stop it, stop it” but she went on and on without acknowledging me or without attempting to release her arms from my grip.
The news cameras and the reporters suddenly left HRC and focused their attention on her, not only one or two cameras but it seemed like all of them had rushed to take the protester in action. DIRTY MEDIA! Their sad and pathetic need for a pitiful news is what encourages people like these protestors to create a disruption in order to get on the news.
At that point, I didn’t care about the cameras or the situation I was getting myself into, all I wanted to do was to stop her. I was holding her arms, shaking her and asking her repeatedly to stop. And finally after screaming non-stop for several minutes, she did stop! She stopped yelling while I was still holding and squeezing her huge arms. She looked at me directly! Our faces only about 4 inches apart from each other. She didn’t try to get out of my grip. She didn’t have to. My arms went limb and fell on my sides.
She was a big woman, young and strong. She continued her gaze straight into my eyes. I had a creepy feeling of “o, sh.t!” This is it; she’s going to hit me on the face. My nose kind of ached, I had it broken twice already. I remembered last year in San Francisco, when I tried to see outside window, my hand slipped and I hit the window cell, flat, on my nose. The blood streaming out, I kept repeating, “I broke my nose,” and paced back and forth in my sister’s bedroom. My sister, Sori, who is a physician, jumped out of her bed, rubbing one eye, looking with the other, repeating, “no you didn’t,” and tried to fix it for me.
I felt the pain all over again. I was sandwiched between her and the barricades and had no way of getting out of her sight. I waited for a punch and prayed, not my nose, not my nose….
Ironically, she didn’t hit me, she didn’t do anything but just looked at me for a few very long seconds. Those seconds seemed awfully long and painful. I still remember her fuming eyes focusing directly into my eyes, watching me like a lion waiting for the right moment to tear me apart. And I felt a chill across my spine. It seemed like the world stopped around me. I couldn’t hear anything, couldn’t even say anything, I felt like I was complete in her mercy.
A quick glance of my condition, I looked from the top of her shoulder, there was a cop standing but he was doing nothing! He had his eyes on both of us. What was he waiting for?
I heard Hillary Clinton’s voice, still talking, she gave me the courage, everything looked normal. I gasped for air, looked at the cop again and slightly pushed the woman with the tip of my fingers towards him. She turned around and without saying a word walked out with the cop.
As she left, I assumed everything would be fine but her friends were still here, they kept kicking me and pushing me with their shoulders, trying to get me out of there. I resisted the pressure and kept holding from the barricades.
I had never experienced anything like this before. I was greatly disturbed and saddened by this much hostility. For the remaining time, when Hillary was talking, I was praying not to let someone else interrupt.
It broke my heart to see her talk was interrupted so rudely and she was called a liar by a stupid 14-year-old boy. How could it be?
How would people allow themselves to be so callous and rude? If you’re not a supporter, don’t come to a Rally. Stay away, get the hell out of the gym and let us enjoy our time with the woman we love and admire.
Moments later, it seemed so short, Hillary Clinton was done. I was happy nothing else had happened. She came to the supporters, shook their hands, talked to them, smiled at them, listened to them, and took pictures with them.
When she got closer to me, my heart was beating so fast that I could hear my own heartbeat throughout my ears. In the past, I had been to more than a dozen of HRC’s rallies but I always stayed back and watched her from a distance.
Suddenly, like a dream, I saw her right in front of me, extending her hand. I held her hand while I was still shaking and distraught. She looked at me with her concerned clear, blue eyes, like ‘are you ok?’ I held both of her hands and screamed, “I love you.” People were screaming “Hillary, Hillary….” and stole her attention, she greeted them, thanked them, smiled at them while still holding my hands.
I thought my heart was melting away! Here was the woman I admired most of my life. In 2008 when she didn’t win, I cried for days and was depressed for weeks. I hated Obama to the point that I wouldn’t want to vote for him. At the GirlsInc. meeting, when Hillary Clinton asked us all to vote for Obama, I cried, it was the most difficult thing for me to do, to vote for someone who was not as deserving as HRC was. It was hard! But I did, Hillary wanted me to do so!
Tonight, I wanted to tell her how much I appreciated her hard work, her dedication, her tireless efforts to help people, but I couldn’t find any words. I just looked at her.
Moments later, she moved on to those next to me, talking, smiling, and taking their cameras to capture a selfie with them. Most of those around me were friends of the protestors. Here, she was getting close to those people, taking selfies, as I prayed for her safety.
The crowd was pushing everyone to the front line where I was standing, stressing on the barricades. I was trying hard to lean back in the opposite direction of the force, holding the barricade, pulling back, afraid it might fall off to the front and there was Hillary. She didn’t know what was going on as she was greeting them and taking selfies with them.
I screamed for help. One of the security guards looked at me, I said “they are pushing, they are pushing it on purpose, they’re trying to make the barricade fall,”
The guard shook her head and walked away.
I continued to hold the crowd back and screamed again, “they’re pushing, they’re pushing” when another guard was walking by. He came to my help and screamed at them:
DON’T PUSH, DON’T PUSH, STOP PUSHING!!
The force of pushing stopped and I finally relaxed.
Trying to find where Hillary was, I felt disoriented, there were black and white dots moving around me, a strange, continuous humming sound had filled my head, bursting into my ears… and there was a solid greet spot looking hazier and lighter by the minute…………………….
… I stood there and held on the barricades, there was one solid green spot that I couldn’t take my eyes off. It was going further and further, looking lighter less visible by the minute. I could picture her smile, shaking hands, taking pictures, selfies, and waving all from behind a curtain of fog and haze….as she was getting away from us, until she was gone, all I could see was a wall of brown bricks, and the moving black and white dots surrounding me with a flood of unknown black and white dots,
The noise continued to hammer in my ears; I kept holding from the barricades, the dots were getting thinner and thinner until they disappeared. I looked around; I was the only one standing next to the barricades. Almost everyone else was gone. The place looked empty. There was someone dancing on the floor with the Latino singers who were playing music, the camera crew still in the middle of the room, folding and untying the cords and packing their equipment.
I went all the way to top the bleachers and just sat there. a flood of tears suddenly streamed from my eyes and poured on my cheeks, burning my cheeks like I had a fever of a thousand degrees. I let cry, I let the tears roll down my cheeks and burn my face.
Some people were folding the chairs, some putting away their equipment, some laughing, talking, dancing.
The sounds of hammering machines in my head had suddenly replaced by a strangely deep silence, mixed with a feeling of deafness, like I was under the water, or perhaps I had lost my hearing.
I stayed there motionless with tears running nonstop. Suddenly I saw someone waving at me, trying to get my attention. I had to focus hard to understand what he was saying: “ma’am we are closing.”
I came back to myself and realized everyone was gone,
Outside, it was another world; I saw dozens of cops on horses, police cars, cops walking around, checking people and looking around. Something had happened while I was inside, sitting on the bleachers.
The streets were packed with people, some were just standing and talking, others were walking around but most of them were carrying signs of “Bernie Sanders.”
I picked up bits and pieces of their conversation and gathered that Bernie people had done a number of things, they had harassed Hillary supporters, shaming them for supporting her, spitting on them, yelling at the children, ……. and there were rumors that some of these people were actually hired to protest and to disrupt Hillary’s rally. As usual, he had played a dirty game with the democratic party!
To Bernie, Donald, and their supporters: why so mean? What has Clinton done to you to deserve this?
Since a year ago when I joined the “HillaryClintonClub,” I have heard it repeatedly that, Hillary says:
“you should not lower your class,”
“stay above them,”
“keep the bar high,”
“you are Americans and must keep your high standards,”
“Hillary doesn’t like you to protest,”
……….but it’s hard and it leaves me powerless! Sometimes I want to scream at them and call them whatever they call us, but then I remember that I’m representing Hillary Clinton. I must act like one she’d be proud of!
………and it’s very hard keep the high standard with those who have NO standards at all.
I had my Hillary signs in English and in Spanish that I had picked up from the gym and pressed them on my chest. At that time, she was the only one I knew, all around me were Bernie’s people, angry and mad, looking for trouble. They were so young, I wondered if they were anything more than 18 years old.
I pressed the signs tighter against my chest and walked fast to get out of there.
As soon as I got far enough from the crowd, I sat under a huge tree, watched the cops and thanked one of them who was staring at me.
– “thank you for protecting our Hillary,” I said.
He smiled with joy:
– “you bet!”
An older man, on his late 70s, carrying a few water bottles, wearing a “Hillary, I’m With You” shirt smiled at me when he saw my Hillary signs. I automatically went to him and asked if I could hug him.
He gave me a big smile, showing a missing tooth, and opened his arms. I hugged him and thanked him for supporting Hillary. He whispered, “she’s our girl.”
An hour later, in East LA, where everyone had warned me to stay away from for being the most unsafe place in LA, I was still sitting under a tree, watching the event coming to an end. The event that probably has become one of the most unforgettable events in my entire life.