Waay back in September, I went to the DNC with a couple of friends. Without press credentials or access to the indoor activities, the spectacle on the street provided enough entertainment.
A fascinating cross-section of America crowded the sidewalks of Charlotte’s city center: proud Democrats, politicians, delegates and otherwise staunch supporters, those who believe the Obama administration is too liberal, those who believe the administration isn’t liberal enough, slightly amused locals, enterprising entrepreneurs, temporary tent dwellers supporting the occupy movement, pro-lifers shaking bibles, a police force on all types of two-wheeled vehicles, groups fighting for human rights for migrants, Palestinians and more.
Vendors pushing Obama-branded from hand puppets and Michelle Obama brushes to tote bags, posters, t-shirts, calendars, and pint glasses lined the sidewalks. The most energetic salesmen I saw were Don “Apollo” Wilson and Charlie Paulk who danced and sang as they peddled cd’s of their song the “Obama Shuffle.” Here, Joletha Neal of Greensboro, NC shuffles through the crowd to the song in front of the Convention Center where Wilson danced with cd’s fanned out like cards (right).
From the outside, the convention looked like a lot of walking, from one convention spot to another, to lunch, in protest, just walking everywhere. There was also a lot of picture-taking, finger-pointing, shouting, chanting, singing, and sweating. It was humid and hot (at least under my equipment), sometimes raining and cool then back to the hot humidity.
It was also a great platform for expression and some proclaimed their messages louder than others.
For me, this man in a suit gazing out from behind empty plates and pint glasses represented a bit of the aftermath of a long day and summed up the simultaneous exhaustion I felt but also the absorption in the news coverage pumping from the dozens of televisions glowing in the sports bar (well the tvs that were not tuned into football). It felt amazing to finally sit.