BANGOR, Maine — Kathleen Brown might have been the bravest person at the Sarah Palin rally on Thursday.
Standing all by herself, the Orono woman held up her anti-McCain and Palin sign as close to the BIA hangar as she could get. Passers-by heading to the rally mostly ignored her lonely vigil. But every now and again the ignoring got a little loud and sometimes more than a little angry.
“If you want to live in a socialist country, move to Europe!” one man yelled at Brown.
Mary Beth Lewis’ face contorted with anger as she walked past the protester.
“Share the wealth, that’s not capitalism,” the Old Town woman shouted.
Brown didn’t blink.
“If you have a voice, you might as well use it,” she said.
The University of Maine employee was one of at least several dozen protesters from around the state who gathered near Bangor International Airport to express their opinions about the Republican vice presidential candidate.
Charlotte Wasserman of Penobscot put it bluntly.
“I believe that McCain and Palin will be a disaster for this country,” she said.
Brown said she was especially upset by Republican pundits’ assumption that Hillary Clinton supporters would switch their allegiance to Palin just because they’re both women.
“Sarah Palin is anti-everything that Hillary is,” Brown said.
One man came up to her and tried to knock the sign out of her hands, but Mainers mostly respected her right to be there, Brown said.
“Bangor’s a good area with good people,” she said.
The protest was more of a scene farther from the hangar, where more people gathered to wave their signs at people arriving for the rally.
Students from College of the Atlantic who had left their campus in the early-morning darkness laughed and joked among themselves.
Several women students wore fake beauty-pageant sashes that said “Miss Inexperienced.”
“I do not support Sarah Palin,” said Julia Bretz, 19, of Media, Pa. “I think women want change and hope and not more of the same.”
Some of the homemade signs that lined the airport access road stated “Farmers for Obama,” “McCain is a Pain” and, simply, “No.”
Rosemarie Roberts of Dexter said she was tired of the Republican party line, and she has been called ugly names in her town because of her support of Obama.
“I dislike the hate that they’ve been spreading,” she said, “the blatant lies.”
Sally Cook of Ellsworth carried a sign that stated “Too mavericky for hope.”
Cook said she had a plan for her sign.
“That enough people will see it so that when they get in there they won’t just listen blindly to what she says,” Cook said.
Was it working?
Maybe, said Cook.
“I’ve got lots of thumbs up, lots of smiles and lots of waves,” she said.
Just then a couple drove by in a GMC Yukon and studiously avoided looking at the protesters.
“Some people will look right past you,” Cook conceded, “like the people in the giant SUVs.”