Road Trip to Alexandria, VA

On Sunday I flew my brother Josh into Philly from Boston for the week. It has been a while since we’ve had some good hang time, so I took the week off of work and we’re just gonna hang out all week.

It just so happened that Don Miller was campaigning for Obama in Virginia on Monday night, and since Josh is an Obama guy, and I’m a Don Miller guy, it seemed like a good opportunity.

That was yesterday, and here’s what went down:

2:30pm – Josh and I fill up the Jetta with gas and head out. Without traffic this trip should take about 2.5 hours. I’m enjoying a Coke Zero.

4:30pm – We hit a bit of rush hour traffic in the D.C. area. I am not enjoying the Coke Zero anymore because I have to pee something fierce. Josh has never been to D.C. so he enjoys the glimpses of the Capitol building and the Washington Monument as we drive through.

5:30pm – Normally our bodies are 70% water. My body is now 70% urine. Traffic is CRAWLING in Virginia as we drive past the Pentagon.

6:00pm – So much for 2.5 hours. 3.5 hours later we finally arrive at Virginia Theological Seminary where this campaign stop is being held. These are not huge events. It’s just Donald Miller sharing some thoughts and answering questions. For some (maybe all) of these events he is joined by Joshua Dubois, the National Director of Religious Affairs for Barack Obama (here’s an article on him if you’re interested). I text Don to see if he is here yet, but he replies and says he is about to leave the hotel.

7:00pm – There’s maybe 25 people gathered in this small auditorium to hear Don. A dozen or so more will trickle in over the next hour. I feel a hand on my shoulder…it’s Don, offering a warm “good to see you, Bryan” and an even warmer cinnamon roll from Cinnabon. I introduce him to Josh and then he takes a seat up front so he can be introduced. (And sadly, I made up the part about the cinnamon roll)

Don Miller and Josh Dubois

7:15pm – Don talks for 10-15 minutes on why he is voting for Obama, and specifically why he believes Obama is the best candidate for people of faith. He highlights abortion…John McCain has no plan to reduce abortions other than criminalizing it, which will mostly likely not happen…Conservative Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has said that Roe V Wade is “settled as the law of the land”…even if Roe was overturned, it would give power back to states, and abortion is legal in some states independent of Roe, meaning women could travel to get them anyway, or have them illegally…Obama has adopted the 95-10 initiative that has a stated goal of reducing abortions by 95% over the next 10 years. (some have said there’s a better chance of it reducing abortions by 10% over 95 years, but for what it’s worth it is, at least, a plan)…i think those were most of his points on that issue.

7:30pm – Don opens it up to questions. Typical Q&A fare happens. Good questions and good responses. Right at the end the organizer gets up to close things but a man who didn’t get a chance to ask a question pipes up that he has one last question. When the organizer starts to tell the man that we really need to close things up, he tells her “No. I don’t think so. You sit down!” We all looked around like, who is this dirtbag? But the organizers stayed calm and even let him ask his question and get it answered. Good for them.

8:00pm – Josh and I meet a Japanese guy who is drawn to Josh’s Red Sox jacket. We talk about Matsuzaka, Okajima, and this guy’s website – Sushi 4 Obama. This guy was cracking us up, very funny.

8:30pm – Don invites Josh and I out with a group of other folks for a beer. We drive 15 minutes down to Old Town, which apparently is a part of Alexandria right down on the water. Reminds me of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, very cool.

9:30pm – I didn’t get a chance to talk to Don much, but it was cool because there were 3 people there who work for the International Justice Mission, the cause that I blogged about the other day. The one dude’s name was Andrew, and the other dude’s name was something that I can’t remember. Brandon, perhaps? I’m terrible with names. But we got to talk about my book and my sites and IJM and all sorts of stuff like that. It was very cool.

11:00pm – We left the bar and had a 2.5 hour drive back. The first 30 minutes we spent listening to the end of the Red Sox game, which was amazing. Mike Sociable and his suicide squeeze blew up in his face like an overblown balloon. Then Jay Bay and Jed Lowrie got it done. Awesome.

1:30am – We rolled into the driveway, tired, but not too tired to watch the replay of the end of the Sox game. More Awesomeness. And off to bed.

All in all it was a great night. Good company, good discussion, and minimal traffic make for a great road trip. I’m glad we got to go. If you get a chance to hear Don Miller speak, it’s always a good idea. Even if you don’t agree with him on everything, he’ll always make you think.