Beto O’Rourke formally launched his campaign for the 2020 Presidential race today. The corner of Overland and El Paso Street was packed with thousands attendees, all wanting to be part of what some are calling a historic moment.
“I drove down from Colorado Springs,” said Wendy Reynolds. “I knew I had to be here. Something like this doesn’t happen often, a man like Beto doing the most selfless thing anyone could do, run for President of the United States.”
Then there is Joe Alvarez who drove in to see Beto O’Rourke. He arrived last night from San Antonio.
“What I like most about Beto is that he authentic, inspiring and he genuinely cares for people. He has demonstrated this by standing by and for the people who need their voices heard. I come from a migrant farm working family so when he stands up to the hateful rhetoric that our president so many times expresses almost every single day; he brings me pride and hope for a better tomorrow,” says Joe.
“And I believe that people with pride and hope cannot be oppressed, diminished or humiliated. I have been following him for the past two years, and I know that he listens to people’s concerns and issues and he wants to bring people (Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) together, and America needs that. So, what brought me here today in one word: inspiration. He needs our support, and as a Latino, we often get dismissed or taken for granted, I need to do my part to get him elected to be our next President.”
Being authentic, Beto’s authenticity is something I heard throughout the morning.
“I love Beto’s inclusiveness and authenticity. He is a servant leader and listens to people. He admits when he is and apologizes. He is real,” said Kim Ortiz who drove in from Dallas, Texas.
“My husband and I drove 678 miles from Greenville, Texas,” says Shauna Red Holloway. “We supported Beto through the Senate race. We love the way Beto is very inclusive and wants to work with anyone to come up with a better way to help people, instead of bashing everyone and getting nowhere.”
Sheryl Curtin traveled to El Paso from Houston with Sarah Kerrigan and Jane McEldowney.
“We supported Beto in his Senate race, and every time we heard him speak, we came away inspired by his message of unity and decency. We think his positions on immigration, security and healthcare are spot on! We wanted to be an enthusiastic part of his Presidential kickoff.”
I did speak with Jamie De La Cruz before the rally, but he asked if I could speak with him after the rally. He wanted to hear what he had to say before he commented. He did catch up with me, and as we walked to our cars, we had a conversation.
“I voted for Trump last election,” said Jamie. “I wish I hadn’t. I believed the bill of goods he sold us about draining the swamp and getting billionaires out of cabinet position. All he did was drain it and fill it with his handpicked billionaires. I’m not yet sold on Mr. Beto.”
De La Cruz labels himself as a Republo-Crat. He’s not fully Republican, nor fully Democrat. He’s trying to find a happy medium.
“He’s up there; he’s talking, he’s himself. He’s real,” shared De La Cruz. “Hearing him talk, seeing him with his family and some of the people out there that he talked to, he was talking talk that promises change. I’ve not seen or heard such talk since Jimmy Carter ran. Will I vote for Mr. Beto now? Without a doubt.”
Others were not so optimistic about Beto O’Rourke, or able to assign importance to today’s event.
He’s here to tell us he wants more money and a chance to destroy other historic neighborhoods,” said Juan, who said that Beto O’Rourke not only sold out the Durangito in order to enrich himself but will do the same on a larger scale. “It’s all money for him and his cartel family.”
“I can’t see what he’s done that whole time he was up there in Congress,” said Ruben. “I can’t think of anyone bill of his that became a law at all. I’m a Democrat, but I think we can do better than him.”
I asked both Juan and Ruben why they were at today’s event.
“To show that not all of us are backing a fellow Democrat just because he’s from El Paso.”
“No. Just no!” is how Rosa Garcia responded when I asked her opinion. At first, I thought she was telling me no, so I began to apologize and walk away.
“I don’t know why we should put him there. He doesn’t care. His speeches are…” I waited as she searched for the word. “His speeches are platitudes. It is full of sugary words to make you feel nice and warm but no substance.”
Rosa has seen a lot in her eighty-four years of life. She shared with me what she believes to be the truth of his campaign. “He’s only out to make this name for himself. He likes this spotlight,” said Rosa. “He likes being the center of people’s attention.”
In the end, both rallies were peaceful and without any incidents. El Paso showed once again, no matter what, we can come together and share our opinions without fear or worry.