Editor's Note: Barack Obama squeezed a rally in Sunrise into his lengthy, cool infomercial Wednesday night. Staff writer Jamie Laughlin tells the story through two attendees.
Crystal Dranetz stands out in a crowd. Through the serpentine parade of Obama supporters wrapping around the Bank Atlantic’s parking lot Wednesday afternoon, her tiara bobs up and down. Unless her corresponding sash is wrong (it isn’t), the tiara was bestowed upon her with the title: Miss Miramar Tropic. Unlike your typical pageant queen, she’s wearing all of it over street clothes: an Obama hat and tee shirt, neon arm bands, and more political pins than a four-star general. She’s No on 2 and Yes on Barack… oh yeah, and she’s 14.
Asked why she wants to see Obama enough to stand in this four-to-eight-hour line, her pageant skills shine through. “He’s been at the bottom and he’s come this far. And now that our economy is facing this crisis he wants to help bring us up,” she says, with perfectly punctuated diction. “He wants to help us, where I think McCain is into helping the people in government.”
This week in school , her class held a mock-presidential debate, which Crystal says “got pretty crazy.” Her class had three undecided voters. She blames the most dastardly of bedfellows: under education and misinformation. It seems that the fence-sitters kinda like Obama as a person, but have some ideological differences: “They think he’s for gay marriage and for abortions.” She makes light by shrugging the memory away and surmises that it’ll all work out eventually. “They don’t really have to know what they think just yet. They’re still kids.”
Then there's Prince Thompson, who's selling CDs. If you ask him, it’s really a Good Samaritan effort. You see, he wrote this reggae jam called “Obama Now,” it’s a funnily impassioned song that includes Oprah in a list of Obama’s strengths and also the line “It takes an O to catch an O, send Obama after Osama”– but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t make your knees bounce. So here he sits in a hatchback with the windows down, the trunk up, and taped on Obama yard signs covering the sides. It seems to have a calming effect on Angry Line, as they enter the music’s audible range they become collectively sedated; the whole chunk of them bobs gently up and down.
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For Prince, the song was a response. “I wrote it in December. This guy on Fox news was talkin’ about how [Obama’s] never done anything. First of all, if you’ve become a lawyer – you’ve done something. And he was the first black man ever to be president of the Harvard Law Review, and he graduated from Harvard and Columbia. What does he mean ‘he’s never done anything?’ If you’re going to write that off, then I guess Harvard and Columbia aren’t good enough for a President?”
This isn’t the Prince’s debut in music; he sang a little song called “Kinky Reggae” with Bob Marley back in the day. Since then he’s played with some Whalers, Shaggy, and dozens of others he ticks off through his missing front teeth. But for the moment he’s exactly where he wants to be; sitting in his car, selling his CDs, and telling Fox News, however kindly, to shove it. Here’s the YouTube clip.