Last Sunday was 10/10/10, an auspicious date. What better way to celebrate than to load some film into my Rollei TLR and head over to Charlottesville's Tonsler Park, where my wonderful first-term congressman, Tom Perriello, was speaking at a campaign rally,
Those of us in Virginia's 5th Congressional District know how lucky we are to have Tom representing us in Washington. Even his opponents admit that there are exceedingly few politicians who work harder, are more level headed, or have a deeper understanding of the issues. In many ways, he's a fascinating guy. The inspiration that he draws from the life of Martin Luther King has shaped his commitment to fundamental human rights, such as access to decent healthcare and economic opportunity. Not surprisingly, he's been endorsed by a variety of liberal groups. But, get this, his understanding of the rights and duties enshrined in the Constitution has also led to endorsements from both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Rifle Association.
(All photos copyright John Edwin Mason, 2010. Click directly on any of the images to see larger versions.)
But back to the rally. It opened with blessedly short and to-the-point speeches by the likes of Charlottesville's young and energetic vice mayor, Holly Edwards.
Then it was Tom's turn.
Part of me wishes that I had recorded his remarks. He's a terrific speaker -- a down-to-earth style and great sense of humor, combined with a deep and passionate commitment to the issues. (Actually, you can judge for yourself. Here's a link to his appearance on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann show.)
The citizen in me wants to believe that the rosy glow in these photos comes from Tom's speech. The photographer in me knows that, as amazing a man as Tom may be, it was actually the warm autumn sun.
In any case, this was grassroots politics at its best. Everyone had a good time, whether talking politics with neighbors...
...or signing up campaign volunteers. (By the way, these are a couple of students from Charlottesville High School, one of whom just happens to be my goddaughter!)
Charlottesville city council member Kristin Szakos kept the crowd entertained by raffling off prizes.
I got the chance to hang out with friends.
And make a few new ones.
Meanwhile, my Rollei got the exercise that it desperately needed.
All in all, 10/10/10 turned out to be a heck of a day.
PS You can find out more about Congressman Perriello's positions on the issues and learn how to help with his campaign, here.