Last night I talked to my friend Gini, who went to the Columbus rally yesterday, and stood in line four hours to vote. Among other things, we talked about the protections in place. She told me about the wide green space that separated people who had gone through security check from every one else, a space constantly patrolled by the Secret Service. There were people on the surrounding rooftops. She worried about one building that rimmed the statehouse lawn, which looked like it had old windows that might open.
I told her how TV viewers could see Obama exit the platform in a box of agents with black sunglasses and curly wires going down from their ears.
There was a big guy right behind him whose movements echoed his, whose arm went up every time Obama reached up to shake someone's hand over the heads of the crowd. Tom said, "That guy's job is to throw himself on Obama if anything happens." Later he added, "The reason that guy raises his arm like that, if someone grabs Obama's arm and tries to pull him down, that guy is ready to pull back." I told him the thrillers I've read make it plain that Secret Service agents are expected to be instantly willing to risk their lives to protect the candidate or official. It doesn't matter who it is or whether they like him. It's their job.
Oh, the lessons of history must have haunted my dreams, because this morning I wanted to hear Dion's "Abraham, Martin, and John." If you click on the title of this post, it should take you to a very moving visual rendering of the song on YouTube by M. D. Reiger.
I think the Obamas know history very well. His daring to appear in the open air like this - daring to even run for office - is the act of a warrior willing to lead the battle. He and Michelle and all those agents know very well how dangerous it is. All of us who lived through the assassination of one voice of hope after another, all of us know and hope, or pray, for his continued safety.