So for those of you who didn't watch the news, the Republican National Convention was last week. And it was held (guess where) right down the street from me! Scary? Yes. Eventful? Mmmm yes and no.
So my first strategy was to hibernate. Who wants to get stuck in that kind of traffic? But when McCain nominated Palin as his VP, I realized I had to be a part of this. No matter who wins, this election is making history, and I would hate to tell my grandchildren that I was there, but hid in my apartment. It was also enticing to learn about the celebs in town - Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhal, Jon Stewart, and more! So I went outside.
To my disappointment, I ran into none of the above. If only I had better stalker skills! I did run into policemen, more policemen than I have seen in my entire life! There was one on every corner in downtown Saint Paul and Minneapolis, there was one waiting under every single bridge on 94 (and other roads, I'm sure), there were groups of them waiting in random areas, armed with bullet-proof suits and plastic handcuffs. I have never seen such anticipation in my life! And not once did I see any of them have a reason to be armed. It was kind of ridiculous.
I did see some interesting forms of protests - groups of bikers, concerts, signs. One blanket-sign in my neighborhood said, "More trees, less bush." And I saw one group of bikers who had paper-mached their bikes to be an elephant and a donkey, and on the elephant was written, "Forever in your debt." Probably the most extreme thing that I saw was a guy walking over the freeway dressed in a grim reaper costume, holding a black and white American flag. And there was a video outside of the Cathedral pointing out each Republican's flaws. People were rather creative!
Supposedly, close to 800* people were arrested this week. Some of them were even tear-gassed. I'm not sure there was always just cause. As I said before, there was a bit too much anticipation by the cops. For instance, I was walking in downtown Minneapolis on night, and ran into fleets of cops, cop cars and vans (and some News teams), waiting for a Rage Against the Machine concert to end. I waited there for 45 minutes while people streamed out, and I have to say I never saw a reason for the cops to be there (other than to direct traffic). In another instance, somebody had left a backpack on a bridge. They had barricaded the bridge with 40+ cops, and a few trucks and Hummers. People were standing all around the area, waiting for something to happen, but as in the earlier scenario, it was very anti-climactic.
(Only a small part of the pandemonium shown here. Imagine this times 5 on each side of the bridge. Quite an event.)
So my RNC experience probably isn't anything to write home about. Of course being here was pretty exciting, but I'm sure reading about it is a drag, as nothing ever did happen. The bars were all reserved for private parties, so it was hard to get in on most of the action. I did get interviewed by a German TV station! But besides all of the above, I saw what you all did on TV, and still haven't made my mind up about Palin. What do you guys think?
(P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos. I didn't exactly take my camera with me on my adventures. Smart, eh?)