Beto O’Rourke Rallies For Unity, Immigration

In a short rally in Los Angeles, O’Rourke spoke primarily of Texas

While Andy Warhol said that in the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke took that notion literally by delivering a speech just over 15 minutes to attendees at Los Angeles Trade-Tech College on April 27.

People were allowed to enter at roughly 4:20 p.m. and the line did not move until then.

As they entered, they were greeted by several songs about Texas and a singular “River” by Leon Bridges. For many, the wait in line and the wait for the event to start was longer than the event.

Moving through the lines was a petition for more transparency in spending, alongside people with clipboards trying to get people to “register” by signing up.

When people were allowed in, it became clear onsite registration was entirely voluntary as there was no check in or clipboards to verify the people that were signed up on scene, despite it appearing mandatory.

People were asked if they signed in as they walked up, but it turns out people could have avoided giving out their personal information to the volunteers.

News vans were parked along Grand Avenue, and random cheers could be heard in line when the cameras hit them. Cameramen also did the same thing when people stood or sat before the main rally as well.

The entire rally itself was a 33 minute event, with an introduction by Los Angeles city council member Monica Rodriguez and two speeches by a UCLA student and a South East High School student.

They spoke of their support for O’Rourke, the first student said they were encouraged by O’Rourke’s opinion on the Kaepernick situation and the second spoke on immigration reform and concerns for the undocumented community.

After they finished speaking, a three minute intermission of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” commenced.

Beto O’Rourke meets and poses with Mateo Green, 7, and Hector Green, 11, at the rally. Photo courtesy of Silvia Merlos.

Following that, louder cheers were made for O’Rourke’s entrance. He walked on to the mini-stage with an entrance theme song of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” while the crowd hooted and hollered at his appearance. Signs and flags were plentiful in front of the cameras, but the remainder of the crowd mainly stood and watched while also clapping and cheering.

He spoke about his efforts in Texas for the majority of his speech and the change that was about to come should he become president.

“For the number of people, El Paso Texas, [is] one of, if not the, safest cities in the United States of America, not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees, but because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees,” O’Rourke said.

Before re-advertising his efforts in Texas, he promoted universal background checks and the removal of weapons designed to efficiently kill from civilian hands following the events of the latest shooting.

With regards to immigration, he spoke of how the wall would not stop immigration and that he and his family live on the border. He then proposed legalizing all immigrants and an end to the divisions in the country.

“If we are going to meet these challenges, we cannot do it by half-measure, we cannot do it by only half the country. It cannot be Democrats versus Republicans, big cities versus small towns, it’s got to be all of us coming together,” O’Rourke said in closing.

The rally closed with Neil Diamond’s “America” followed by a various assortment of other songs.

One Redondo Beach resident, Maria Water, made the 20 plus mile drive after “hearing the hype” just to check things out after seeing this as an event on Facebook.

Walters is a self-described political junkie and centrist who “takes a lot to convince.”

After the rally, she said she was not convinced and that it did not feel genuine and rather felt like pandering. With an Ecuadorian background, she also had concerns about O’Rourke’s position on immigration.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Walter said before critiquing his solution.

To her, legalizing everyone would be too simple. She said she understands why people come here, but then went into detail on the effort her family has gone through to do it the legal way with visas.

Walter said she would be going home to fact check the claims made at the rally and only clapped once at the start of the rally. She said she only clapped then “to be polite” as she has not been to rallies before.

Others enjoyed their 17 minutes with O’Rourke.

Walking down Grand Avenue to the parking lot, several were happily talking about O’Rourke’s speech. One man asked another what he thought about O’Rourke, to which the second man said he was already convinced and the pair then laughed.

Others took pictures in their O’Rourke campaign T-shirts and merchandise.

The full rally’s audio is available below: