By Ashley Wioskowski
Chaos is the only word that could define the scene that took place outside of the John McCain/Sarah Palin visit to Grand Rapids Community College Wednesday night.
On one side, barricaded behind a metal fence, Obama supporters rallied in protest with signs that read “John McCain, more of the same.”
On the other side of the street, dozens begged police officers to be able to squeeze in to The Ford Field House where their message was clear: the Fire Marshall said the building was at maximum capacity, you can leave, but you can’t enter.
Even those who bought tickets in advance were turned away from the building, which according to woodtv.com had been near capacity at 5:42 p.m. The speech that was planned to begin at 7:00 p.m. started at 6:38 p.m., according to woodtv.com.
Amanda Jandahl, a junior majoring in public relations and Spanish, who is a co-chair for Students for McCain at Western Michigan University, was able to see McCain speak. She said she was happy to see him talk about Mich. related issues.
“They talked a lot about reform in Washington, about how they want Washington to be more about people than big wigs,” Jandahl said.
Brian Rosenberg, a senior majoring in finance at WMU who is also a co-chair for Students for McCain said that he thought McCain/Palin touched on all the issues that were crucial to the west side of the state.
“I think that [Palin] is a great attribution to the ticket—it’s the ticket we need,” Rosenberg said.
On the other side, Greg Studt, 26, from Grand Rapids and Tansy Harris, 26, also from Grand Rapids stood behind the lines to support Barack Obama.
“He brings a lot more to the table than McCain. I think it’s a low blow that he picked a woman who is under qualified,” Harris said.
“He has lobbyist on his committee, and it will be the same in the cabinet. Obama is running a campaign for the people … by the people,” Studt said.
Harris said her protest was in hopes of changing some minds or at least showing a fight.
“Obama has really utilized the Internet and got more younger-aged votes,” Harris said.
Harris added that regardless, she hoped that everyone votes.
“There is no excuse not to vote, some countries have to fight for their rights to vote,” Harris said.
Mary Luckhardt, from Sand Lake, Mich. brought her daughters to the event. She said that even though she knew she wasn’t going to get in, she stayed outside in support of McCain.
“I think he cares about us, I really do,” Luckhardt said. “Your not always going to agree with everything they say but you weigh the pros and the cons and it’s McCain.”
Luckhardt commented about one of the big issues that have shaped the election. “I don’t like that this is a black man, white man or woman thing … we’re all human beings.”
Amanda VanEssen, a senior at Grand Valley State University who was also unable to get in to the event said that her attendance is important because she realized how historic it was to attend.
VanEssen’s friend, Corrina Lau, a senior at GVSU said she “came to see the next president.”
“It is rare to have him so close. I mean, Bush wasn’t even here when he was campaigning,” Lau said.