Posts Tagged ‘george mcgovern’

Third Day’s a Charm

August 27, 2008

And the end approaches to another hectic day at JSA and the DNC.  I awoke this morning after approximately 3 hours of sleep only to realize that I had overslept and had to rush to get to the bus before it left without me.  Instead of the delegates breakfast we went straight to the Cable Center of Denver for a speakers program.  Included on the list of speakers were Bob Graham, the former Governor of Florida and veteran of various Vice Presidential and Presidential races, as well as George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential Nominee in the 1972 election won by Richard Nixon.

Graham was pretty funny and very likable at one point telling us a story about filming an “MTV” (his word for music video) with Jimmy Buffett.  He was pretty candid about questions asked of him, but also seemed to be very intent on informing us about civics academic programs and their potential benefits to the future of America.  All around though he was fun, entertaining and informative while also being very interesting to listen to.

McGovern, the other very notable speaker on the list seemed rushed, as he confessed that his schedule had filled up more quickly than he had expected.  He talked mostly about his life and how he started out in South Dakota as one of the only elected Democrats in a mostly Republican state.  From there he went on to talk about his Presidential bid and some of the ways it has affected future elections, such as the extensive length of modern presidential elections.  He started his campaign much earlier than was generally accepted at the time and others have followed suit.

It should be noted that all of the speakers were not reading speeches so much as giving short unscripted talks and then answering our questions about their lives and experiences.

After the Speaker’s Program we went into downtown Denver and walked around for a while.  While there, we went to the set of Chris Matthew’s Hardball, which was really cool to watch.

What really struck me about Denver is the sheer amount of protesters, as well as the extensive police presence.  It seemed like every block there was a group of heavily body-armored police officers with dogs and automatic rifles scanning the crowd for any sign of a civil disturbance.  To match the police presence, there are literally hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating on issues ranging from outlandish – our government’s involvement in the planning of 9/11 – to the serious – pro-Life protesters arguing with pro-Choice protesters – to the downright funny, with one group of people marching to bring back Crystal Pepsi.

While in Denver, I continued my quest to secure credentials to the Convention, which are exceptionally hard to come by.  By the end of the day, I had become so desperate that I began cold-calling the Democratic headquarters of different states to see if they had any extras.  Finally however, through a family connection, I got credentials for Thursday night at Invesco Field and possibly to see Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tomorrow, which is awesome.

Anyway this post is getting to be a little long, but I still want to talk about what actually went on at the convention so I think I am going to open it up to you guys.  What did you think of the keynote speech?  I think Warner brought up some issues that hadn’t been raised previously in this election, but he didn’t elicit the excitement I was hoping for.

What did you guys think of the Governor of Montana – Brian Schweizter?  I loved his energy and the ease with which he spoke, he seemed like a nice, regular, normal guy who just happened to be speaking in front of a few million people on live television.

What did you think of Hillary?  Did you think she made enough of an effort to through her support to Obama?  Did she talk too much about her campaign?  Did it seemed forced, did you think her heart was really in it?

And finally, the clincher, were Bill Clintons tears real, or were they just a ploy for sympathy?
I am looking forward to your responses!

If at First you Don’t Succeed, Try Try and Continue Not to Succeed

August 27, 2008

Though those avid readers of my desperate attempts to get credentials know that I like to recall my days in chronological order, I decided to start this post with words of wisdom Congressman Tim Ryan.

When asked if he ever had a day when he felt like what he does isn’t worth it, his answer was simple and unexpected: “Get some sleep. Pushing yourself until you get burnt out makes you unable to enjoy the experience.”

Mind you when I heard this I had not slept for two days, had not eaten yet, and had a headache from the altitude.  So, when I heard a successful young congressman say that the secret to his success was sleep, it did not make me feel so great about the position I was in.  Instead of disregarding it as a benign comment or dwelling over the possibility of burning out and trying to succeed in business without really trying, I tapped into a JSA-encouraged principle and took action.

In the spirit of the congressman from the DNC youth panel, I decided to write today’s entry before we actually arrive back at the hotel and my desire to hibernate under my sheets for more than a few hours kicks in.  Also, considering it is only 10:30 on the East Coast, hopefully my mind will be more alert and my isms will actually make sense.  Here’s hopin’.

But let’s go back to the beginning.  Thankfully the call time for this morning was the more reasonable hour of seven o’clock.  After grabbing some coffee, we hopped on the bus and headed over to the Cable Center for this morning’s feature famous speakers.  Today’s main attraction was The Honorable George McGovern. For those of you who were not alive during the Vietnam War era, Mr. McGovern ran for president in the 1972 as the Democratic nominee for president and was basically bitch slapped by the voters.  And even though Mr. McGovern was the most anticipated of our variety show of speakers, bars set high are usually only meant to be topped by olympic gymnasts.  Surprisingly, the speaker preceding the Honorable delegate from South Dakota was Andrea Stewart-Cousins, an African-American New York state senator who was commanding, was up-front about her issues, and was not afraid to tell everyone that as a kid from the Upper East Side she had “money, money, money”.

After the speakers, we jetted off to the Convention Center for the DNC youth council panel discussion.  Now, for those readers who are less familiar with JSA, the motto of the organization is “be flexible”  a.k.a. “be ready for things to fall through”.  So, in true JSA style, we missed the first half of the panel and only made it for the discussion with young representatives about how they got elected.

One thing they said that I hadn’t heard the day before in my speaker’s program?  It’s fun to run against old people. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  Besides, since I wasn’t able to get this post done before I got back to the hotel and I am sitting on my bed with two sleeping roommates, I don’t have time to make stuff up!

The other main afternoon activity besides roaming 16th street scouting out buttons and potential t-shirts was going to the taping of Hardball with Chris Mathews. The taping was held outside with little shade from the hot Denver sun. Now even though seeing Chris Mathews was exciting, what captivated my attention more was the mood of protesters who filled in the back rows of the crowded audience.

I don’t know if protesters is the right word to describe these, well, extremists, who were firm indulgers in the 9/11 conspiracy theories. They came armed with signs and bullhorns and a large arsenal of chants: literal ones like “9/11 was an inside job,” mean-spirited ones like “Do your job” and the Obama-themed one “We are the change.”  My friends and I were standing almost right in between the protesters and the police officers, watching this act of civil disobedience from afar as spectators.

I think that was the closest I will get to being a part of a riot while I’m here, though you never know: if someone has extra credentials to give away, I would brawl to the death.

Sorry.   I like to work that credential part in whenever I can just to remind people reading this that I am still up a creek without a credential. The credential story of the day was when someone in the program went up to some guy eating in a restaurant and asked for credentials, and out of his bag comes 15+ credentials. I guess luck really be a lady tonight, though sadly that lady is not me!  I must have crappy karma or maybe there is a sticky note on my back that says “will bite when approached with credentials”.

Sadly, I had to leave Hardball early because, when I looked in my bag to grab money for a button (I now have 9 by the way, though my Hebrew one is still by far my favorite), I realized I didn’t have my wallet.

Pause for gasp.

I called the place were we had lunch and thank goodness they found it! So then I walked more than six long blocks in the heat to get to my wallet.  If you were wondering what I did on the walk up, I conducted a little back-and-forth in my head: “I need to go and sit and get something to drink” to “you have no money to buy anything to drink.”  As soon as I reached that pivotal Corner Bakery Café (free plug!) I bought myself a delectable frozen pomegranate smoothie.

Tonight we had a private JSA watch party at the cable center which meant we got to see Hillary Clinton’s head across a total of 16 screens, so if you thought that orange suit was bad on one tv, imagine that fluorescent magnification by 16!  Other than the suit, though, I think Hillary did exactly was she was supposed to: she started with a strong statement in favor of Obama, talked about her issues, thanked her fans, established unity with Obama through a shared disagreement of bad Republican views, and ended telling everyone to vote for Obama.

Can anyone guess what the people behind me on the bus ride home were fiercely debating? The orange prison-inspired suit.  Was it just me or did she remind anyone else of the man with the yellow hat from Curious George? And what about Bill: we saw him laugh hysterically, mouth “i love you” twice to Hillary, and we even saw him shed tears. Was he being overly dramatic for show or were his emotions genuine?

I was most disappointed with the keynote speaker because, considering that role was given to the one and only Barack Obama four years ago, I was saddened by the lackluster appeal of this year’s pick, Mark Warner.  You would think given the precedent set four years ago that the DNC would have given it to someone as inspiring and energetic as Obama was for years ago.

Now since 1 am has come and almost gone, I have decided that, in the spirit of Congressman Ryan, I would put done my theoretical electronic pen and, as my mom would say, “hit the sack, jack.”

On tomorrow’s agenda we have another delegate’s breakfast, speakers who actually look interesting, more cauci (caucus nominative singular, cauci nominative plural- all of you Latin fans know where I’m coming from) and my last day to try and get credentials before the convention moves away from the Pepsi Center and over to the Mile High Stadium on Thursday. But for now I must get some beauty sleep.

Good night, everyone.