June 15 was a beautiful day in Hopewell Junction. It was a pleasure to hold a small event there with Nan (many thanks to our hosts and friends at the Joe DiMaggio American Legion Lounge 2248). And what a surprise to find not one, but two video stalkers joining us at the behest of John Hall’s campaign!
Jeremy O. and Nate R. were two quiet, furtive, slightly nervous-looking high school students who arrived early to the event. Each brought with him a small digital videocam.
Nate set his camera up on a tripod in the aisle pointing at the podium where Nan would be speaking, while Jeremy shadowed Nan by standing, silently if a bit obtrusively, about three feet away everywhere she went. Friendly bunch that we all are, we introduced ourselves, offered them refreshments, and asked them to let us know if there was anything we could do for them. We did acknowledge their presence to our audience, and they were somewhat abashed about the attention, congenial though it was.
Nan’s talk, and a lively exchange with an enthusiastic audience, went well. After the closing remarks and applause, while Nan and the guests continued to converse in small groups, Jeremy and Nate returned to roving-eyeball mode as they continued to record nothing usable for the opposition. We suggest they get used to that, because Nan doesn’t vary her positions according to her audience, and she knows her stuff – and she’s also developed quite a reputation for being refreshingly honest!
Out of sheer curiosity, special projects coordinator Jesse Dwyer and director of online media Charlie Banks struck up an amiable conversation with the two now-veteran surveillance operatives to see what exactly drew them to John Hall’s camp. Jesse told them the saga of his repeated attempts (with limited success) to find out Rep. Hall’s position on the Second Amendment, and asked if they could maybe shine some light on the matter. Disappointingly, the phrases “We’re only high school students,” and “We’re really not allowed to talk about Rep. Hall’s positions,” came up frequently. Jesse noted that repeated calls to Hall’s Congressional office got him nothing more than a statement from a staffer: “John Hall has no political stance on this issue.”
After another round of disclaimers from Jeremy and Nate that they were under a gag order from the Hall campaign, Charlie decided to take a more roundabout approach, with an easier question: what was Rep. Hall’s stance on the First Amendment? Amazingly, they weren’t allowed to talk about that one either. (The irony was worth savoring: they couldn’t comment on Constitutional freedom of speech because the Hall campaign had ordered them not to talk.) Taking that as an unmistakable sign that these kids were not here to chat but to record video, and not wishing to make them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, Jesse and Charlie thanked them, shook their hands, and let them return to observing Nan. Toward the end of the event, to his credit, Jeremy thanked us on his way out for being so courteous, which we thought was classy.
We don’t know if Jeremy and Nate were disappointed to have gone home empty-handed after a couple of hours of work, but we did feel a bit bad for them that they had apparently been forbidden to talk about themselves or their candidate in any way. Then again, maybe they found a new candidate to back! Whatever the case may be, we wish them luck in keeping up with us in the future, and they’re welcome to join us again.
Now, here’s a good question: If Rep. Hall is sending video stalkers to Nan’s events, does this mean he finally acknowledges her as his de facto general-election opponent, and will he stop ducking her invitation to a series of debates?