Thursday, July 29, 2004

Six PM

So, in the morning, we went over to the California delegation’s breakfast and had Jesse Jackson with my scrambled eggs and bacon, as I slurped down my final cup of coffee, I heard Bill Press flog his book. It was all rather forgettable.

Following that I went over to the Sheraton and wandered around there for a while and talked to some people . There’s a subdued atmosphere around the delegate areas of the hotels. People are tired and having gotten to bed at one in the morning or later, are definitely groggy. There was no free lunch today. A person lamented the food and drink was far less than in recent years, to which I concurred. So I went to Burger King and got a hamburger while preparing to visit the free speech cage, which is where the protesters, mostly commies of right wing religious fanatics, can scream to their hearts content.

The damn thing was near empty! Oh, there were a few people there, mostly the aforementioned, but there was one guy singing the greatest hits of Credence Clearwater Revival off-key,a couple of volunteers told me he had been there the past two days and had driven a lot of other people away with his earsplitting tones. He did the thing to me as well. I fled across the river to Cambridge, where a group called Take Back America was having a conference.

The conference was state of the art, where the speakers used computer generated visual aids to explain how all the "Progressive" 547 advocacy groups now are cooperating with each other when it comes to research materials and polling and the like. They’re extremely optimistic with the current situation as there’s a genuine possibility that a sweep resembling 1994 will get Congress back in Democratic hands. It should have been interesting, but I fell asleep a number of times. But that all changed when Jesse Jackson came into the room. This was going to be my third encounter with the reverend Jackson, and would prove to be the most interesting. He started slow, subdued, almost plodding, explaining that there were things he couldn’t say the previous night because it was not his place to rock the boat. The convention wasn’t his parade.

He discussed history. He went on about how the civil rights movement didn’t come from Eisonhower on down but from Martin Luther King on up. He discussed voting trends and anaylized what they meant. I.e. the Democratic party didn’t need white men but needed to do more to register Blacks in the southland.

His voice never actually reached the screeching heights that he’s famous for, but got up to a certain pitch and stayed there for the better part of an hour. He was mesmerizing. Why he hadn’t gotten anywhere near that in the morning or the previous night was probably due to the audience. There were few who weren’t people of color here. When he left, so did I.

There was a delegates shuttle bus outside the hotel and we took a circuitous route around Cambridge and Charlestown before finally getting to the Fleet center. We passed the other side of the free speech cage. There were more people there now, and a recording of people singing "We Shall Overcome." They were very angry that we didn’t invite them in to disrupt the proceedings.

I ate dinner at the press lounge and someone told me something I didn’t quite believe. Police and National Guards in full battle armor had confronted protesters. He wasn’t right, but he wasn’t exactly wrong either. Outside there were a couple of hundred cops and guardsmen who was ready for anything. I guess it was because Kerry was actually going to be in the building and Osama might think he’d be lucky this time. I’m not sure.

The entire House women’s caucus shows up on the podium. They’re just killing time before they nominate Edwards and he and Kerry speak. I’m looking forward to that, but I’ll be glad when this is over….

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