The Convention Feel From the Outside

I said I would write about the Convention, so here we are. I wish so much I hadn’t broken my camera, so I could show you how crazy and intoxicating it all was, and so I could remind myself with visuals. I’m getting old. I’ve got a few posts planned for this, but I’m going to save my favorite for later today, and take a chance to catch up on the general feel.

When I arrived on Tuesday the town was already buzzing, but wasn’t packed. The population intensity grew by the hour, and by Wednesday midday the 16th Street Mall was wall-to-wall people. Now, I’ve never been to a Convention, so if some of y’all have, please chime in here and tell me if some of this stuff is normal. On Tuesday it seemed like most of the out-of-towners were young kids and traditional Midwestern Democrats. You can spot these guys a mile away because they were inevitably white, a little pudgy and pasty, and wearing O-gear. O-gear was everywhere. By Wednesday, the streets were lined with tables, where people were selling everything from Obama T-shirts (Burritos for Obama was my favorite. It really does just say it all.) to, I kid you not, velvet paintings. There was also one booth with original outsider art, which I really find fascinating.

The most puzzling thing, and the thing that I want to know whether or not is normal, is that there were apocalyptic preachers and evangelical street theater activists on every single corner of the 16th Street Mall (a really long stretch of street that is closed down to everything but free buses and pedestrian traffic). I know Colorado Springs is SoCon (social conservative) Central, but still, these were some ragtag bunches. Crazy, sometimes dirty and smelling people just ranting with huge homemade signs, passing out hastily copied literature that ended up crooked on the page. I felt like I had stepped into another universe.

And people staring at me did not help that feeling at all, and they did. Not at first, though. When I arrived people were as friendly as could be, and wanted to know if I was there for the Convention. Once I put the button on, that’s when things got tricky. The button being the PUMA button I’d bought from the PUMA Den. I also slapped a We’re Not Coming Home, Howard sticker on the back of my laptop screen, which got me plenty of looks from people in places like Starbucks.

But the best part was the PUMA Den, without a doubt. I have been isolated here in New Albany, and as a Hillary Clinton supporter, it’s hard to know who you can talk to. That applies to everywhere as I’ve experienced it. But I could relax, which I did, for the first time in months at the PUMA den. Meeting the group was amazing. And apparently, the cops assigned to keep an eye on us where mostly Clinton supporters anyway. They gave us no trouble as far as I know.

There’s a ton of stuff going on with PUMA, including Lori and her husband (I can’t believe I forgot his name–hey I looked up that speech!), who are making the documentary The Audacity of Democracy (I missed the screening because I was late getting to Denver). Also, a book will be forthcoming from a Texas woman whose name also escapes me. If you saw the video where the woman takes the Texas caucus records from the building, only to be later harrassed by the woman who gave them to her, that’s her. She was awesome, and so funny. I read the first few pages of  a chapter, and she’s on to something. Incredible work going on.

It was also great to meet wonderful people like RD and Murphy and Sheri Tag, who are all amazing women. Murphy’s mother is also AMAZING! She organized that PUMA Den like General Patton preparing for Operation Torch. LadyBoomer was also there, as were anti-fish and goanderson, who were both amazing support after the demoralizing roll call. So many more…I suspect over 200 PUMAs where there, but I’d like to get official number from PUMApac if they are available.

All in all, I made many contacts, and offered my card to a few folks, so I have hopes that alliances can be built and people will stay in touch.

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