PaperCity Magazine

October 2018- Dallas

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 47 of 111

38 High School — a place of resiliency in a neighborhood slow to recover from Hurricane Harvey — resonated with the crowd. Our team got the go-ahead signal. We threaded our way through the crowd, out a door into the courtyard that led into another wing. All the while, O'Rourke took audience questions. More waiting. Teacher Al Campbell, a well-known jazz musician who performs gigs around town and who directs the jazz band program at Westbury, shared his impressions of the day. Campbell told us O'Rourke's appearance reminded him of another day, when he was a teenager and Bobby Kennedy spoke to his high school in Memphis. Then in came O'Rourke. We were informed that our time with him — including photo shoot — was now less than 10 minutes. We elected to do the portrait first. O'Rourke's Oxford shirt, worn loosely opened around the collar, was drenched in sweat. Introductions were made. He warmly greeted our team and asked about the focus of the story. He was surprisingly real — and not "on." Charismatic, and down- to-earth, his focus was on those in front of him. Coming down from the euphoria of addressing nearly 2,000 to conversing with our group of three, he was just as present and affable, asking our photographer, who wore a Pixies T-shirt, his favorite song by the band. Our art director led the candidate to indoor steps below a courthouse-style clock, as the final rays of early evening light radiated over his head. It was the shortest PaperCity photo shoot on record: four minutes. Six minutes left for the interview. We laid the groundwork for our conversation, before leading into more personal questions — how he keeps up with this grueling pace; life on the trail in a Toyota Tundra truck; the part his family plays; what keeps him going; and the similarities between political campaigning and touring in a punk- rock band, as he once did. Six minutes into our chat, there was a firm cutoff signal from his staff. Nearly 2,000 people were lined up in the cafeteria, waiting for O'Rourke and their moment to shake his hand, pose with him for a Facebook or Instagram picture, and tell him their thoughts and concerns. What follows may not be the comprehensive, in-depth interview with Beto O'Rourke that we dreamed of, but that day became a story nonetheless. One afternoon in a Houston high school proved that democracy is alive and well. Its vibrancy emanates from Texas, by way of a man who is civil, intelligent, likable, real, and committed. As for the question of the red and the blue, in O'Rourke's eyes, those are merely the colors of our country's flag. IN THE BEGINNING. My wife Amy and I began to talk about [running for Senate] after the November 2016 election. It became clear to us very quickly that everything we cared about for the country — everything we had told our kids what this country stood for and stands for — is on the line. And we had better do our best. AND IT GREW FROM THERE. The idea was to go as big and bold as we possibly could. It became clear at that moment that the biggest, boldest, and maybe craziest thing we could do would be to run for the United States Senate. And so, not too soon thereafter, I began to travel the state and listen to folks and found that many people had come to the same conclusion: We're at a real turning point in this country, and it's going to be either walls or Muslim bans or 'Press is the enemy of the people' — smallness, paranoia, hatred, and racism — or it's going to be ambition and aspiration and greatness, and I want to be there for greatness. And that's kind of the conversation in a nutshell. Beto O'Rourke, Houston, August 20, 2018 "WE'RE AT A REAL TURNING POINT IN THIS COUNTRY, AND IT'S GOING TO BE EITHER WALLS OR MUSLIM BANS … OR IT'S GOING TO BE AMBITION AND ASPIRATION AND GREATNESS — AND I WANT TO BE THERE FOR GREATNESS." — Beto O'Rourke (continued on page 89) (continued from page 36)

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - October 2018- Dallas