My 9-year-old son and I were excited about seeing President Barack Obama speak in nearby Fairfax, Va., today. But poor organization by Democratic Party officials prevented that from happening.
We had tickets for the event, held at George Mason University, but like a couple hundred other people who eagerly waited in line, we did not get in. Organizers had handed out hundreds more tickets than they had seats for.
While I’m personally upset that I did not get to see the president today, I feel worse about disappointing my 9-year-old son. I took him out of school for the day to see President Obama speak. My apology to him was of little comfort.
I wasted a lot of time in this futile effort. I drove to the Fairfax campaign office Thursday morning (located about a half hour away) and waited 90 minutes to get tickets to the event. Then we waited in line Friday a.m. for another 90 minutes only to get turned away.
It seemed to me that organizers of Obama’s GMU stop were much more interested in filling the seats with party faithful (campaign volunteers and the like) than with average voters like me on whom this election likely rests.
Virginia is a battleground state. It’s too close to call for either incumbent Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney. And I’m a swing voter. So, you’d think the organizers of the GMU event would want me there.
I emailed Virginia Democratic party leaders this evening about my displeasure over their handling of the event. I suggested that a better way to handle such events is to print up only as many tickets as seats and let the ticket holders in first. Then after a certain time elapses, they can open the remaining seats to standbys – people who don’t have tickets but wish to attend. That seems much more democratic than their current system, which is more like the airline model of overbooking seats – and equally frustrating.