Things seemed a little sleepy when I stepped off the plane in Charlotte. I’d watched the first night as I was packing —Duval Patrick, citing the Mitt mess he’d cleaned up in Massachusetts; Joaquin Castro on the similarities between his and the president’s “unconventional” upbringings; and, finally, Michelle, radiant and on point, on the qualities that make her man the man for the job.
By sign off, I was fired up, ready to go.
But when I land, it’s hot, muggy and slow. No hordes of conventioneers pouring out of the terminal. I’m the lone passenger on the Avis shuttle (though I did have a good “inside” chat with my driver, Horace, about his memories of seeing Klan members rolling down his college-town streets in full-on sheet mode. “They’re still around,” he says, giving the side eye to a beefy guy in a Suburban laying on his horn.)
Things will heat up, I told myself, once I hit downtown—convention central—which had to be where there was…action. Mind you this is my first convention, so I’m really not sure what to expect, except what I’ve seen through my Wolf Blitzer filter. But, I was excited at the prospect of checking it out first hand, and couldn’t wait to get into the flow. Only… there is no flow—at least not yet. I’d heard that the Occupy movement was coming out in full force, ready w a new game plan. Yes! Excited! So far, I’ve seen one dude with “Boycott BP” written with a sharpie on the back of a notebook. At least his penmanship is good.
After endless looping around blocked-off streets in my hooptie rental, I land a parking spot and see mecca—the Time Warner arena. I catch up with my peeps, and begin the dance to snag my snazzy, laminated, color-coded credentials. The crazy swapping of credentials—press box versus bowl press stand versus floor access, which trumps them all—is matched by the frenzy of the action on the main floor. That is where I, finally, finally start to feel the surge, the buzz, the juice that comes from hundreds of people being on the same beat, ready to hoist the president on their shoulders and body surf him, if necessary, back into the Oval Office. Walking the floor among the delegates, that message was clear between the crazy hats, the Uncle Sam costumes, the Obama/Biden buttons and on-going remarks from the roster of Dem luminaries like Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards.
“Thanks to President Obama,” Richards deadpanned, “being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.”
But, as with the build up to Michelle Obama on Tuesday, Wednesday is all about Bill Clinton. It’s already common knowledge that he refused to share his remarks with the DNC beforehand. Then, maybe 45 minutes before his speech, aides are rushing around passing out an excerpt from the former president’s speech. A teaser. And Clinton did not disappoint, rallying the troops, reminding us all that we are a nation of smart, savvy, socially responsible voters who will leave no man behind.
Tonight is all about President Obama. Tune in. Log on. Receive the message and let your voice be heard. Time to get out the vote.
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Managing Editor, EBONY magazine