Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No Particular Place To Go

Greetings from Denver!

8/25/08 - DAY ONE

Oh crap.

I've just arrived at the third-floor walk up apartment, bent over my suitcases, struggling not to pass out. In my hurry to settle in and get going, I forget they call Denver's stadium "Mile High" for a reason. Oy, not a great way to start the week.

After a few minutes curled up in the fetal position, I change, pack my weapons of choice - cell phone and camera - and take the bus downtown. Devoid of credentials, unable to get into the convention at the Pepsi Center, my world for the next few days will instead revolve around Denver's 16th Street pedestrian mall (think 3d Street Promenade). A lot of the bars are here, which means most of the delegates, which means all of the media, cops and protesters.

For the moment, the cops easily outnumber any potential protesters. They're everywhere. On horseback, bikes, Segues, foot, crowded in the backs of flatbed trucks. They're encased in Kevlar, draped in heavy tactical weapons. Yet they laugh and joke and get their pictures taken with tourists and delegates. It is beyond Orwellian. It feels like the future.

I wander down the length of the Mall and eventually end up at MSNBC's "election central" stage. It's huge - two stories of scaffolding and klieg lights. Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews sit perched high above the gathering crowd, while Rachael Maddow, Pat Buchannon and the rest of the pundits sit below. I end up watching Michelle Obama's speech with the crowd. Or I should say, watch the crowd watch the speech.

It's an incredibly moving scene. One moment hit me like no other. As Michelle spoke, I watched as an African American man in his sixties begins to weep. His wife puts her arm around his shoulder and he folds into her like a child.

I am humbled. As psyched as I am about the idea of an Obama presidency, I can never know the journey that brought this couple here to this place and to this moment.

I can never truly understand what this means to them.

To see more photos of the day, check out my online gallery


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