2017 Photo Essays

Photo Essay: ‘Campaign Trail 2016 / Bill Clinton in Fargo’ by Q.V. Hough

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On May 20, 2016, the 42nd President of the United States made a stop in Fargo to campaign for his wife/presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton spoke at Rheault Farm, with the local security being more “Fargo Nice” than overwhelming. Outside the gate, people sweat and smile. Many attendees inquire about the Fujifilm X100 hanging around my neck, at least when I’m not wearing my Skullcandy Skullcrushers (Future and podcasts).

What ya got there, guy?

I put my iPhone in my pocket and explain the specifics. Digital. Used. First Model. The older folks appreciate the design; the younger people furrow their brows while clutching their devices. Meanwhile, the local news teams shows up and plants themselves outside the gate. One week prior, the Bernie Sanders rally felt more youthful and energetic. Lots of Trump signs. On this day, though, it’s a picnic. C’mon over and listen to Billy boy. I nibble on some Keebler Cheese & Cheddars and toy with my settings.

When the gate finally opens, nobody checks my bag. Nobody asks any questions. I look around and survey the crowd. Hmm. This doesn’t necessarily feel safe, but it does feel like South Fargo. It feels like a community, a round up of 25th Street and 32nd Avenue locals. A band fires up some old school Motown, the photogs find their places and I strategically make my way to the stage. Easy money. Lots of bodies pushin’ back and forth, though — passive/aggressive power moves and friendly words. By now, I’m sweating and it will only get worse. The band plays another song. The Secret Service emerges. Suddenly, the afternoon transforms from a joyous gathering to something much more powerful. Kids scream. The elders adjust their glasses. And who are these people on stage? After the guest speakers hype up the featured guest, Bill Clinton finally emerges and observes the sweat-stained yet enthusiastic crowd.

Welcome to Fargo, Bill. No security, no problem.

Q.V. Hough (@qvhough) is a freelance writer and the Founding Editor of Vague Visages. In 2004, he graduated from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) with bachelor degrees in Communication-Mass Media and History. From 2006 to 2012, Quinn lived in Hollywood, California and now resides in Fargo, North Dakota.