The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Stupid Spiral

Let me begin by saying that this is an extended blog. I did not get a chance to post yesterday, for reasons I shall explicate further in a moment, and I have MUCH to discuss.

This Mighty Mango Naked Juice I am drinking is delicious.

Yesterday was a busy day. In fact, my weekend was so crazy that I don't really even feel like I HAD a weekend. In the morning, concerned by my rapidly rising stack of grading (of course, I mean stack figuratively, as all of the material to be graded was in electronic format - I just like the idea of a weighty stack), I headed to Caribou Coffee for some much needed artificial stimulation and quiet grading time. The grading was very enjoyable, as I was reading blogs that my students are writing about interpersonal communication. Some of them were very entertaining. At noon, I gathered up my stuff and headed to school.

Why WAS I headed to school on Sunday? Well, we found out last week on Friday that Hillary Clinton would be coming to hold a rally. Since Mark works in the marketing department, he decided to head in early to help set up for said rally. I really wanted to attend, so I also headed in early to help set up, figuring (correctly) that it would mean that I was guaranteed a seat for the show.


Ever since John Edwards called it quits, I have been in a quandary about which DFL candidate to support. I like both Hillary and Barack very much, so I had decided to do some research on their issues. It turns out that (from my perspective, anyway) Hillary has a stronger environmental platform. I also agree with her stance on a number of other issues. Despite this research, however, I went to the rally with an open mind. I wanted to objectively listen to her speech and evaluate what she said in the hopes it would help me decide who to ultimately support in caucus.

It was very easy to get caught up in the excitement. As I drove to park, I passed people lined up outside waiting to get in along with news vans from all the major networks. As I was walking toward the building, I couldn't help but think to myself that I could be seeing the next President of the United States. What is even more inspiring, is that the President could be a woman. Even if I didn't like Hillary, as a feminist, it's exciting to think that our country is not only tolerating, but actively supporting a woman candidate for our highest office (and about time)!!

The set-up for the rally was also something to behold. I spent most of my time there helping Mark hang a school banner -- which Hillary's people then debated over, wanted to move, tried to replace, and, ultimately, put right back where it had been. Mark and I also helped another Hillary crew member hang one of her banners. It turns out that this guy flew in from Houston for the sole purpose of hanging this banner for the rally. That was his one job!! And sadly, he wasn't very good at it. If it hadn't been for Mark, I doubt the banner would have gone up at all. In the midst of all this craziness, it struck me that these campaign people sometimes go through this entire process two or three times a day!! I just helped for an hour and a half and was exhausted.

When it was finally time to listen to Hillary (after several hours of standing. painful.) it was easy to get caught up in the excitement of the crowd. As a communication professional, I was interested in her performance and her message and I have to say, after listening to her speech, that I am now a supporter for Hillary for President. She made several excellent points and said things that I whole-heartedly agree with, but one thing really tipped the scales in her favor: green economy. Every time she referred to economic solutions, she tied them to environmental solutions. Personally, I believe that green economic measures are the ONLY way to truly make a difference to our natural world. Let's face fact... Most people are not going to make the green choice unless it is also a good economic choice. I wish the world were different, but it isn't. Living in dreamland won't clean up the environment, either.

Almost immediately after throwing my support behind Hillary, I had this terrible, quietly nagging thought... "Many of my friends and family are not big Hillary supporters. Maybe I should just keep my new love and respect a secret." And then, being the good communication scholar that I am, I thought "NO. That is the Spiral of Silence talking! I will not be silenced by my fear of the majority." Because, after all, the ability to disagree with people is one of the things that makes our country great. So, bring it on!! I look forward to the constructive debates that we can have on this topic! Oh, and pictures from the rally will be appearing soon on this very blog... just be patient.

Finally, I think it worthy to make a mention of last night's Super Bowl. I went into the game cheering for the Giants, and was pleasantly surprised that they actually won! I'm not surprised based on the Giants perceived underdog status or imagined lack of ability... I am surprised because usually when I support a team it equals the kiss of death. So, when Eli broke that tackle and lead the Giants on a scoring drive that culminated in a touchdown pass - cut to Peyton Manning cheering - cut to Plaxico crying - it was a very thrilling moment for me.

So, that was yesterday. Sigh. I am hoping that today is less eventful, and less thought-provoking. Although I may have to write about my friend's emergency root canal. Cheerio.

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