My view from the DNC

Whose Hen House Am I In?

I’ve finally made it – a life long democrat attending the Democratic National Convention. My people, my time, I’m ready!
Day 1. I was able to get a hotel in Charlotte – the Red Roof Inn. Slightly better than a Motel 6 and MUCH better than the hotel I left behind in Statesville 50 miles a way. Why don’t they have clocks on the bed stands? Drove out early to grab my convention credentials but couldn’t get anywhere near where I needed to go, so decided to return to my hotel and leave earlier for the convention. Called a cab and headed over to get my credentials.
The crowd is much different. People are not dressed up, and there is definitely more diversity in the group – blacks, gays. The safe zone is much larger and once inside it feels like a demilitary zone. Getting in and out is nearly impossible and not worth it, so once there you’re there. Rain plagued the convention and people had to leave their umbrellas outside.

I obtained a floor access pass which let me on the floor, but also on the suite level as well as the lower level. Fascinating to see the inner-workings of the convention. Suites have been converted to mini news studios with monitors, video editing equipment and chairs for the news personalities. The lower level has servers, computers, copiers – a mini city running everything. Arena staff seem pretty unhappy, and most complained openly about being on site since 8 am. AT&T folks extremely patient and professional.

I wasn’t able to sit anywhere so didn’t get to listen to the speeches like I had for the RNC. The overall theme seems to be equality and giving everyone a chance. The highlights where the Ted Kennedy video with numerous clips of him talking about Romney. The mayor of San Antonio – Julian Castro was a great speaker – up and comer?

Michelle Obama was the highlight. Extremely polished and glamorous, and very popular with the crowd. We Love Michelle signs were handed out and in full waving display. She talked about her love for Barack, and her girls. Nothing overly stood out but she was obviously trying to accomplish what Ann Romney accomplished – talking to the group on a more personal level about her, her family and the man – Barack.

Once the conference ended, it was a confused group trying to figure out where to go and how to get out. I was able to grab a cab pretty easily but had to walk a long way.
Day 2 had a bunch of speakers I didn’t know but I rode the elevator with Wolfe Blitzer from CNN, and saw Pierce Morgan and Madeleine Albright on the floor.

Cecile Richards made her mother proud. Sandra Fluke, Attorney and Women’s Rights Activist seemed angry, and Austin Ligon Co-founder and former CEO of Costco started strong then began reading his script. Elizabeth Warren was a popular, emotional speaker.

Then Bill Clinton. A fabulous, casual speaker that is great at connecting with the crowd – acted as if he was talking to a small group of friends. Great speaking style. Obama came out at the end and they hugged and waved – the crowd went absolutely wild! I dare say more wild than when Romney made his surprise appearance after his wife spoke.

Day 3 was all about the change of venue for Obama’s acceptance speech. It was supposed to be in the B of A stadium but was moved due to weather. That left out 65,000 people who had tickets. I was lucky, unlucky and then lucky again with a pass to the arena bowl. I got into the Arena around 6 and it was almost completely full. Sat way up top. The sound didn’t carry well up there and the speeches were hard to hear the speakers.

The Foo Fighters performance was great, but I thought a strange choice. I was looking forward to hearing Caroline Kennedy speak but she’s a quiet, reserved speaker. Eva Longoria had a great line around the premise she needed tax cuts when she was struggling with her family, but not now.

The video about “Fired up ready to go” was awesome and they should have used this though the whole convention. A highlight was Gabby Gifford leading us in the pledge of allegiance. She rightfully soaked all the cheers in.

Jennifer Granholm – former Michigan governor was feisty and got the crowd fired up. Great speaker. John Kerry took a lot of jabs at Rommey and the crowd loved it. Jill Biden was eloquent but not exciting. And good old Joe Biden. He came across not genuine, and didn’t seem to know what day it was – a few slips and missed points. Too many, to the point of uncomfortable, mentions of the Bin Laden killing. I was happy when I heard he was killed, but the mention in lots of the speeches made us as Americans seem vengeful.

Mr. President. Obviously popular and very loved by the crowd. A much bigger group and louder than at the RNC. His message was clear; we all get the same chance, the path we are on is working and right. I found it ironic that he pointed out Mr. Romney’s inexperience in foreign affairs when 4 years ago he was just as experienced. No balloon drop but lots of confetti filled the air. The common theme was around the middle class – build the middle class out and the bottom up. A privilege hearing him speak.

Tampa vs Charlotte
The RNC was much more formal, with most people dressed up – men in suits, ladies in businesses dresses. The DNC was much more casual – jeans, shorts, t-shirts. The arena staff at the Tampa Bay Arena was friendly and helpful, where the arena staff at TWC was unhappy, annoyed and generally not nice or helpful. I felt out of place with the DNC group compared to the RNC. The security around the DNC was much more strict and difficult compared to the RNC. Left or Right?

Ok, I’ll be honest here – I voted for Obama in 2008. But over the last 4 years feel there where a lot of broken promises, and more struggles that made my life harder not better. I went to the RNC with an open mind and heart, but found the Koolade a little too sweet. But I left Tampa feeling connected, like they understood my struggles, like I was one of them – a republican?

I headed to Charlotte knowing how I was going to vote. The democratic party had disappointed me, and the republican party understood me. The usual inconveniences and the expected over-zealous crowds helped confirm my feelings. But I left Charlotte confused.

Stay the course or change courses? Keep moving forward or try something different? Help everyone, or let people help themselves. Is either right or wrong? Once in office can they really do what they say they can? Will they?

Here’s what I know for sure. It’s awesome that people care so much, and I’m glad they do. I’ve been disengaged and disenchanted from politics for a long time. maybe it’s time for me to get off the fence.

All i know is I’m proud to be an American and there’s no better country on earth.