Last month, Philadelphia transformed itself to accommodate a surplus of visitors for the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Special permissions were given to bar owners to stay open until 4:00am, two hours later than normal closing time. The Host Committee for the DNC and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program formed a unique partnership to establish the “Donkeys Around Town” program – a commission that hired local artists to paint fifty-seven fiberglass donkeys representing the fifty states, Washington, D.C. and the six U.S. territories. These donkeys – the symbol of the Democratic Party – were displayed at popular locations throughout the city.
During the convention a buzz of excitement swirled through the streets of Philadelphia carried by an onslaught of live tweets, Instagram uploads with famous dignitaries, and non-stop twenty-four-hour political commentary. In the midst of this frenzy, I received a call from a friend who works on Capitol Hill offering up a free ticket to Wednesday’s speeches. Dutifully, I left work to curl my hair for the commander in chief and rushed to get to the Wells Fargo Center in time. Security was not nearly as intense or invasive as anticipated, and before I knew it I was standing in front of a row of national and international radio stations. Briefly, I met my friend under the BBC sign before he said “have fun” and disappeared into the crowd.
Left to my own devices, I walked along the corridors observing the dignified nature of the crowd – a blend of cultures and ethnicities walking together in muffled cloisters. Most attendees upheld a rare order, reserve and respect with the occasional rebel appearing in the midst, like the forty-five-year old 5’5” blonde with mounds of fake hair, tits spilling over her ruffled prom dress and a satin sash that read “The Bride of The Convention”. After she walked past, I felt less self-conscious about my exposed spaghetti straps. However, I still was denied entrance to a Facebook party – the only one serving beer. The gentlemen behind me also got denied, and, together, we walked to the charge station.
The muscles around his eyes twitched as he spoke to me in a way that confirmed we were coming from two different places. This convention was one of many to him. After some brief chit-chat, he invited me to join him in the associated press section, which I happily accepted. Once inside the dark arena, we found only one available seat. The gentleman, who turned out to be a reporter, led me to it and situated himself in the stairwell by my feet. On the landing below, a curved line of cameras and reporters stacked alongside each other. At times, the reporters simultaneously talked while speeches were delivered from a podium behind them outlined by a circle of fluorescent lights, reminiscent of a scene out of the Hunger Games. I took out my notepad and pen while everyone scribbled notes around me for publications with readerships by the hundreds of thousands. If it wasn’t for the handsome reporter sitting in the stairwell on my behalf, I’d have felt completely inconsequential and insignificantly small. But as it turns out, I’m pretty skilled at playing house and managed to blend in with the rest of the associated press. For the next couple of days, I will be sharing my blow-by-blow notes of Wednesday night’s DNC.
God Bless America,
A Warrior Princess