Posted: August 27, 2008 in A Walk in the Park: My Coverage of the 2008 DNC
PART II: Who Are These Protesters And What The Hell Do They Want?
Conventions and other political gatherings typically generate some kind of protest from some group or another, so in light of this year’s Democratic National Convention, I was curious as to who are these protesters and what are they protesting, anyway? Are they protesting the Democrats? Are they protesting the fact that the convention is being held in Denver? Protesting Hillary’s outing, or is it just that time of the month again?
In today’s political climate, there are certainly a lot of issues on the table to be addressed, such as the economy, the war in Iraq, whether a black man should be allowed to run the country, etc. Well, actually, Senator Barack Obama is technically bi-racial, so does that really count? I keep having these visions of thousands of racist political operatives descending upon the Pepsi Center in white robes and carrying a thick rope. Scary. Aside from the yahoos that were arrested Tuesday, for plotting to assassinate Obama (mainly because of his race), I hope that it is safe to say that the racialists are safely in the margins. Some issues seem more valid than others, so I decided to go out and interview some of the protesters to see what these protesters were about and if they were debating real issues.
Most of the groups seemed to be pretty warm to the idea of Barack Obama becoming president. Some were protesting to try to bring positive attention to areas mostly ignored by Obama and the Democrats, such as immigration reform and Veterans advocacy. Not all groups however, were singing the praises of the Democratic front-runner. Some groups, such as the Communist Party, were trying to bring awareness to the analogousness of the Democratic and Republican parties, and bring light to Obama’s entrenchment to the system.
The more I walked through the park, the more the event seemed like an orgy of weirdness. There were scattered groups of protesters ranging from marijuana advocates (they were all passed out in the grass surrounded by Twinkie wrappers), various war protesters, Jesus freaks, Jesus geeks, the Communist party, Ralph Nader supporters, the usual voting advocacy groups such as “Rock the Vote,” and of course, plenty of cops. One particularly strange group was promoting the idea of reproducing the Hispanic population to start an uprising.
One protester caught my eye as she held a modest cardboard sign that read: “Who Represents Me?” She was by herself and decided to demonstrate without the support of any group. She was protesting the lack of current representation based on the issues that were important to her, such as the divisions between the rich and poor and how influential rich politicians are. Even though she does not believe that she is represented, she still plans to vote.
Overall, the general mood was amiable enough. I only saw a few hecklers trying to rile up the crowd with bigoted slurs, but they were mostly ignored and the park was alive with conflicting ideas and agendas being reasonably discussed among groups. One thing that I did not see was a great unifying movement or idea to homogenize the crowds. Also, ostensibly, no overtly pro-Republican protesters.
It was pretty neat to walk through the park and see all of these ideas being exchanged in an open manner, and without police involvement. The protesters have mostly thinned out as the week has gone on, but the police force has remained ubiquitous. There is a major immigration march set for Thursday to end at Invesco Field where Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech. Many Denver Hispanic residents are disappointed at Obama’s failure to adequately address the immigration issue. The hope is that this gathering at the doorstep of who could potentially become our next president, will bring them into the spotlight so that Obama will have no other choice but to respond. Is the worst over or will there be an escalation during the last hurrah?COMING NEXT:


  1. Anonymous says:

    I have become an avid reader of your social comment. It is written in an informative yet entertaining way. This piece very much captures the flavor of what is happening in Denver right now and I loved it. Keep keeping us informed.

  2. chadstract says:

    Thanks for the “vote of confidence.” I’m glad you enjoy reading my posts. There’s much more to come, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.

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