Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hoping for a glimpse of the prez

The Master Lock company, which President Obama visited Wednesday, sits right smack in the middle of Milwaukee's black community. Onlookers gathered at N. 33rd and W. Clarke Streets, across from the plant's parking lot. A festive atmosphere prevailed.

Kathy Vincent of Brookfield displayed a sign about union-busting Gov. Scott Walker. The sign proved to be popular.

Here's a fuller look at the boarded-up house in front of which she stands. Board-ups, often the result of foreclosures, are not uncommon in the neighborhood.

This couple wear their support for Obama. Ernest Boyd says his niece gave him the jacket as a Christmas present after Obama was elected president. Not to be outdone, his wife Carolyn sports an Obama sweat shirt and a Michelle and Barack watch and pin. Ernest has a Barack pin, and they both wear Obama caps.

 As the president talks inside the plant about how businesses should follow Master Lock's example and bring jobs back from overseas, the crowd waits, hoping to get a glimpse of Obama as he leaves.

The first dignitary to exit from the plant is state Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee. She gets a hero's welcome from the crowd. She says Obama gave an excellent speech.

Dogs seek to sniff out trouble outside the parking lot.

The calvary arrives. Members of the Occupy Milwaukee movement join the gathering. With their chants and signs, they add a hard edge to the assembly.  While supportive of Obama, they demand that he do more. "Make the banks pay!" they chant.  

James Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial writer and columnist, exits and checks a photo he shot.

The need for jobs is a major theme. More examples of chants: 
Jobs, not jail
Money for school and education,
not for banks and corporations

Suddenly, local, county, state and federal law officers speed north on 33rd, toward Center Street in their cars. They came from the south, not from the lot across the street, as many in the crowd had expected. Black limousines follow. "He's in the second one," someone says. But the cars are but a blur. Nobody catches a glimpse of the prez. The action was so quick I couldn't take a decent shot with my camera. Still, echoing the crowd's general sentiment, a gentleman says aloud, "It was still worth coming." There is something awe-striking about being in the presence of the nation's live symbol, moreso when that symbol gives you hope.


  1. Very touching Greg. You did it again with another warm human interest story that still says something. Those two things not necessarily being the same. If you keep this up you may be "Perry White" one day my friend.

    Bill R.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Bill R. But I was hoping to be Clark Kent when I grow up.