So I apologize if the wit and banter which some of you may have come to expect from these posts is a little lacking in this post, but I think after you read about the day I have had, my lack of poetry will be understood, and the mere fact that I can string words together in a semi-coherent sentence will be a wonder all in its own.
This morning was met waaay too early. We had a 5:30 departure time to get into Denver before the action started. Once in Denver, the six students from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania piled off the bus at the Tech Center Marriott, also known as the home to the Pennsylvania delegation. Waddling through the parking lot in my most professional looking heels, I was in quite a lot of pain by the time I arrived in the lobby. Off went the heels, on went the flats. I thought this piece of fashion information was crucial to the structure and fluidity of this post since I started out with a disclaimer of sorts foretelling a story about my long day.
Nothing makes the day seem long quite like achy feet.
And for those of you wondering about another fashion staple of mine: no, the pink hair was not down for the world (or at least the delegates) to see, but rather, tucked back in a rather professional looking bun.
Our breakfast this morning did not disappoint by any standard of the word. Every Pennsylvania Democratic delegate was there, or at least it seemed that way to me. Just to name a few, the breakfast featured such honored delegates as Senator Bob Casey, Mayor Nutter, Mayor Street, various members of Congress, and Governor Rendell. There was also this guy who I think is a cowboy. If you are seeing a theme here from my last post, my only explanation is that maybe cowboy chic is making a comeback.
I tried not to let myself get too starstruck by these heavy hitters because, as I explicitly described with my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reference from the previous post, I was seeking credentials wherever I could. Little did I know that the task of finding extra credentials lying around is even harder than picking a needle from a haystack. At least in that scenario at least there is a pointy prize to be gained at the end.
What I mean to say is, there were no credentials left. Pennsylvania is unique in the way that, instead of distributing extra credentials among the delegates themselves, each delegate enters their name in a raffle and the winning names get credentials. Hefty sigh for us hoepful high schoolers. But don’t count on this correspondent to be down and out so fast- I networked at this breakfast more than I do on Facebook, and trust me, I am on Facebook a lot.
After the breakfast we loaded up the bus and drove down to the University of Denver Cable Center to hear speakers. Today’s theme du jour was “Meet the Delegates”, designed to give us a variety of delegates who talked to us, well, about how they became a delegate. Truth be told, I only actually heard two of the six programmed speeches because in my mad rush to find credentials, I was out of the building for most of the afternoon. But basically, every speaker just talked about what it means to be a delegate and how they got to be in that position. Some were at their first convention ever and some were seasoned vets adding another convention notch onto their already double digit belt. So, you would think that with the wide variety of people, that each speech would have been insightful and interesting anddifferent! But alas, we basically heard the same speech over and over again, so I guess I’m lucky not to have had to sit through a complete afternoon of the same speech only. I think it may have been seen as rude to fall asleep. Possibly…
So, for those of you who read that last paragraph in the spirit of my mother and are worriedly puzzled as to what it means to be “out of the building for most of the afternoon”, there is indeed a story there. At this point I should interject that I have just referenced my mother, and for those of you keeping score, that is two post references in a row. I doubt any of you are keeping score, except for my father. So, look out for two fatherly references in the story of my afternoon, which believe me when I tell you is a story.
At breakfast, my friend Lisa who I was schmoozing people with and I were told by the head of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party that if we came back to the hotel at 1, he would do everything he could to scrounge up credentials for us. So after the speaker, Lisa and I flagged down a very attractive prius cab to take us back to the hotel. Once we got back to the Marriott, we went in and asked for our credentials at which point the staffers just looked at us dumbfounded because there were no credentials left anywhere. And, to make things worse, Lisa told people we were coming back with credentials, so of course we couldn’t come back without them.
Trying every contact we could think of, Lisa got a hold of a contact she had bonded with at breakfast who told us to wait at the hotel for a hour and then he would, in his words, hook us up. While we waited, one of the RAs came by to supervise us with another girl who had already picked up her credential. After waiting for about a hour, this guy finally comes back and tells us there is nothing he can do. So, after a day of schmoozing and asking and practically pleading, I could not muster up enough magic to get a credential, but as I now realize, the likelihood of me getting a credential is about as likely as finding on of those golden tickets inside of a chocolaty Willy Wonka bar. But you never know- there are tens of thousands of seats that need people to fill them, and if they need someone to fill Biden’s seat when he goes to the bathroom, I’ll be there.
So, even though I was not on the Convention floor, I did watch the speeches from the Convention Center at a DNC sponsored watch party. But, as I was walking towards the Convention Center, I was confronted by rows and rows of police officers, brandished nightsticks and all. Then, from behind us and in front of us, police officers on bicycles rode through the crowd and down towards the center. So, in listening to the safety tips my father always taught me, I threw off my shoes and went running after the bicycles. But I was soon stopped by a police officer standing idly at the corner of the street. He asked me if I could breathe through tear gas, and when I said that I could not, he told me that I should then turn around and run the other way. After that I looked back and saw a mob of police officers as far as the eye could see crowding around what I would learn later were protesters protesting the establishment of laws. I also found out that they not only used tear gas but rubber bullets. I was glad to run the other way back towards the button stand.
I finally got to the Convention Center to catch the tail end of the convention speeches plastered across multiple flat screen TVs. If it had not been for the tinge of disappointment in my heart in knowing that I had spent all day trying to get into something that I had to settle for seeing on TV, I would have found the setup in the center quite cool. The main hall was lined with convention related booths, exhibits, and even a station to check our Facebooks with a twin station to watch YouTube videos. But I did not explore the booths, and instead, went and slunk down in my chair to watch Michelle Obama’s incredibly successful speech with people who are equally if not more as interested as I am.
But even sunken down in my seat, I found Michelle’s speech affective in a way that not only made Barack seem more human but also showed that she is ready to be the mother of the country.I read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the flight over here that talked about the four things Obama needs to do to gain the nomination. The one that stuck out to me was that voters need to get to know Obama as a person and I think that the video before Michelle’s speech and the intro by her brother allowed us as voters to learn about where the Obama’s came from and gave us the opportunity to visualize them as the first family. Even in the Convention Center she got a standing ovation.
So, even though the theme of our day was “Meet the Delegates”, I think that the day was more constructed to “Meet the Obamas”, and in that respect, I feel as though I could let the Obamas into my house for a Passover Sedar. And though I have not yet found the golden ticket, I have found a new family to help me find the afikomen.
Lily Gold is a rising junior at Germantown Friends School and is attending the Democratic National Convention as part of the JSA – Junior State of America. Check back for her blog posts throughout the week and tune into 91FM for live reports with WHYY’s Dave Heller in the afternoon.