I met Senator Obama once. I saw him speak at DePaul during his senate run, but that was nothing special. The funny occasion was a week after he won the senate election.
I got out of my chemistry class at DePaul's loop campus and was walking North on Michigan Ave. towards a protest. A bankers association was meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel, and this group of bankers was having panels on how great NAFTA, the Patriot Act, and other conservative pieces of legislation are.
I was walking North on Michigan Ave. and I saw someone who looked just like Obama, walking South on Michigan Ave. with what looked like an aide. I thought, “no way that's him.” But I thought I would call out to him anyway, just to see if he responded. I shouted, “Senator Obama!”
He said, “Yes, sir.” I walked over to him, walking beside him, and shook his hand while I began to question him.
I asked Obama, “I saw a quote from you in the Chicago Tribune, where you said that you would be OK with pre-emptive missile strikes against Iran or Pakistan.”
He responded, “Well, the full quote was that I would be willing to consider pre-emptive missile strikes against Iran or Pakistan if either one of them were controlled by Islamic fundamentalists who had access to nuclear weapons and were threatening to use them on the US.”
I was taken a back. I didn't expect him to come back with a more reasonable scenario like that. I wasn't sure what to say, I mumbled something about disagreeing with his unconditional support for Israel and left.
Later I thought of the perfect come back. There are Christian fundamentalists controlling the US, who have access to nuclear weapons and have threatened to use them against other countries. Yet is Obama talking about pre-emptive missile strikes against George W. Bush's Washington D.C.?
That same day I met former Il. Governor Ryan. I made it to the protest outside the Intercontinental and was handing out fliers to passersby describing what was wrong with this bankers association. I went to hand one to a guy when the wind blew, and it dropped to the ground. An older white haired gentleman bent down, picked up the anti-capitalist flier, and handed it to the guy who dropped it.
I looked at the white haired guy, and realized that it was former Governor Ryan, the Republican who had a change of heart and became an opponent of the death penalty. With his last days in office, Ryan had pardoned many of those who were on death row for crimes they did not commit. One of those people was Aaron Patterson.
I shouted out to former Gov. Ryan as he walked away with his wife, “Governor Ryan! Thanks for letting Aaron Patterson out!” Then I remembered that Patterson had been arrested again by the Chicago police on some trumped up drug charges. I shouted to Ryan, “Can you help us get him out again?”
Ryan raised his fist in the air in a sign of solidarity as he walked away.