It’s been a long time since I covered a national presidential nominating convention in person. Many more years than I would like to admit (can you say Ronald Reagan?). So I’m excited to be in Charlotte, North Carolina to be in on the festivities, news, excitement and pageantry.
But where to begin in terms of describing the little moments? The ones that you might not catch on the mainstream media coverage?
Here are five of the things that struck me today on my first day at the convention:
1. Shoes. I thought I had brought plenty of comfy shoes, and I knew they would be super important for all the walking that happens in a convention town. But I hadn’t anticipated the extent to which streets would be closed and how big the “perimeter” would be. I found out the hard way that “you can’t get there from here” and, sadly, missed a really great event I had been looking forward to. The good news is I’ve figured out the lay of the land in downtown Charlotte and should be good to go. I think. I hope.
2. Celebrities. I guess it’s not a surprise that there’d be some celebrities at the DNC. But you never know exactly who you might see or who’s going to turn up. Tuesday night, as I was waiting in the rain (and thunder and lightning) for a hall pass that sadly didn’t materialize, I spotted Patricia Arquette and “Nnnnnew-man!” (aka Wayne Knight). OK, not necessairly your A-listers, but you knew who they were!
3. Legacies. Both political parties like to showcase their legacies to remind the faithful about their roots. Jimmy Carter made an appearance via video. But the greatest and most moving legacy moment was the Ted Kennedy tribute video. Regardless of whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, I think it’s clear that Kennedy was a tireless advocate for the issues he felt strongly about, like civil rights.
4. “You’re welcome, ma’am.” When I visit the South, I always know people will be polite. But the law enforcement presence here in Charlotte is polite beyond the norm. Secret Service, local police, sheriffs, visiting police forces. They could not have been more wonderful and polite as I tried to navigate my way through the maze of streets that you could use and the ones that were closed off unless you had super special credentials. They couldn’t help me to get where I was trying to go, but they sure were nice to this “ma’am.”
5. The hats. Oh, the crazy hats. With buttons and boas and placards and who knows what kind of embellishments to show their support in a visible way for their candidate. You just can’t see enough of those fantastic patriotic hats. And when will you have another occasion, besides Halloween, to get those out of the closet?
What’s your favorite part of the Democratic National Convention?
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