The Liberty and Justice Celebration: A Great Political Sporting Event
DES MOINES–When I go to the Wells Fargo Arena, I usually go to watch the Iowa Wild, the local American Hockey League affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. When I learned that the annual Iowa Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration would be at Wells Fargo Area, I was curious to see how the stadium would be used for a political event. I was surprised to see that not much needed changing. The Liberty and Justice Celebration was basically another sporting event but with a different game and different players.
Before the event began, I took some time to walk around the stadium and do some people-watching. As I noticed people wearing t-shirts supporting the candidate of their choice walking past others supporting a different candidate, I came to a realization of how unique this event was. The people in attendance at the Liberty and Justice Celebration were on different teams and the same team all at once. They may support one particular candidate, but they were all Democrats.
Before the candidates spoke, the main videoboard in the center of the arena showed a compilation of clips of the different campaigns set to the AC/DC song “Thunderstruck.” It felt like a “hype video” that sports teams usually show before the start of a game to get the fans fired up.
The Iowa Democratic Party took a moment to showcase prominent Iowa Democrats. As they walked out onto the stage, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the group of Democrats on stage with a sports team announcing their starting lineup. This led to a humorous voice in my head exclaiming “STARTING FOR THE IOWA DEMOCRATS…”
Each presidential campaign had their own section of the arena where their supporters congregated to cheer on their candidate. At the center of the arena was a stage connected to a long runway where the candidates would make their entrance to blaring music. When each candidate entered, smoke would rise from the center stage and arena lights would circle the stadium.
I also saw a couple of other similarities between the Liberty and Justice Celebration and a sporting event when looking at the campaign cheering sections: the Elizabeth Warren section was flying flags as if they were at a soccer match. The Kamala Harris section wore yellow and clapped their thundersticks as if they were at a Golden State Warriors game in Harris’s home state of California.
I left the Liberty and Justice Celebration feeling like I had witnessed an entirely different sport tied into a political event, making it a truly unique experience.