Only in America could you have such razzmatazz

A QUIRK on the campaign trail is that both candidates wrap up their rallies with the same song — Only in America by country group Brooks and Dunn.

And, oh, how apt.

As election day looms, the desire to be a part of the phenomenon has turned politics into rock-and-roll and policy platforms into play-lists. It is impossible to imagine any other nation deciding its leader in such a blaze of razzmatazz.

Surrounding the 30-second snippets broadcast each evening there are 30-minute speeches the masses wait hours to be around for.

From the blue collar industrial towns in northern Ohio to the cultural melting pot of Miami, this week alone hundreds of thousands of people have attended a campaign rally.

And at them the crowds cheer the often repeated and easily recognisable sound bites as if they were chart topping singles.

“I sure can’t wait to introduce her [Sarah Palin] to Washington,” guarantees John McCain to an ovation.

“I do not see a red America or a blue America but a United States of America,” never fails to send the Obama faithful into rapture.

But the Number One sing-along track for nine straight weeks has been Palin’s ditty “Drill baby drill and mine baby mine”.

But making the extraordinary effort to go to a campaign gig is less about what is said than being there in the first place.

In Orlando and Miami this week the majority of people could not even see Obama on stage, as media stands and trees obscured their view. Many more could only crowd around corners where they could not hear him.

First time voter Sara Renwick waited for five hours to get into Obama’s Monday night rally in Orlando.

When it was finished she got back in line at the bank machine so she could pick up memorabilia at the increasing number of stalls following both campaigns.

“I skipped class so I could be here, but I bribed my lecturer by telling him I would bring back a campaign button,” she said.

However, if both rallies end with the same song what comes before is very different.

Democrats are arriving to celebrate and Republicans to fight.

And what Republicans produce in choreography Democrats trump with sheer spontaneity.

Before his Sunday rally in Toledo McCain’s team blared Queen’s We Will Rock You over the loudspeakers.

In a college basketball hall at Palm Beach on Tuesday, students for Obama beat their feet on the timber floors and sang the same song of their own accord.

Obama fans chant like English football crowds. On Saturday in a small hall in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, a group of blazer-wearing teenagers burst into an operatic rendition of the Irish ballad “Red is the Rose” for Cindy McCain.

At least all the events make sure that you leave with the reminder “Only in America”.


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