The last day of the convention reminded me a lot of going to general admission concert with a big name headliner. There is a scramble to get there early to get the best seats and a whole lot of tension in the process.
Granted, Tuesday and Wednesday was pretty much the same scenario, but with the change of venue to a significantly smaller space and not having the room to move around as before, anxiety ran high. I averaged getting to the arena at 5pm before. Today 3pm was the goal.
I packed my suitcases earlier in the day, as I had a 7am flight Friday morning (meaning I wouldn’t be going to sleep tonight). Fellow delegate Jeffrey Adair and I grabbed lunch then headed over to be interviewed by an independent about out experience at the DNC. Interviewed separately, I got to listen and understand the platform issues that are important to him, and I think he got the same from me.
Then walking 2 blocks to the arena, the security line was longer than normal. Again, people were coming a lot earlier today. As I walked into the arena floor, I saw something I hadn’t seen before: white pieces of paper taped to seats. Not just in the California section, but other states as well. Yes, people had as early as the night before began seats by taping their names on them. I admit I was a bit peeved by this action. I wasn’t the only one.
Once everything was under way, tensions started to subside when we saw Gabby Giffords taking the stage. Perspective began to set in. We’re all here for relatively the same reason, so let’s enjoy it. We did.
I wrote in an earlier post about my faith being restored in people. Another area of restoration came in former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. I had griped earlier about the “Auto Industry” segment of the convention, but not having anyone from Detroit as part of it on stage (I like Ohio, I do! Just saying.) When she spoke and possibly even surprised herself by how electrifying her speech was, I felt redeemed. Granholm represented.
A lot has been said already about the speeches of Biden and Obama, so I won’t go into it so much here. I will say that I used to like Joe Biden. Now, I really really like him. He’s someone I’d love to join for dinner at his house with his family and just ‘kick it’. An everyday guy you can talk to about…well, everything. In looking at my President, I couldn’t help but think how much we’ve aged this guy! While I want him in office 4 more years, I fear he’ll be completely gray by then!
There were no shortage of parties to attend after the convention, and I’d RSVP’d to a couple. However, I decided the best way to conclude the convention was to end it with the people I started with: the delegates I ran with in CD-18. So, Jeffrey, Carolyn, Jill, Dave and I headed to a bar in a hotel nearby and relaxed a little. Reflected a little. Celebrated our experience more than a little.
A few hours later, I arrived at the airport, discovering that pulling an all nighter was no longer in my list of skills. Struggling to stay awake, I soon learned i wasn’t the only person taking the first flight back to SFO: Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and a few other elected officials were also doing the ‘all nighter shuffle’. I’d decided not to even try and approach anyone, but there was one person I had to make an exception: Jennifer Granholm. Yes, she was on my flight as well. Still feeling so much from her speech, I had to let her know, thinking there would probably be no other time in the near future I’d have this opportunity. I approached her, apologized for disturbing her, mentioned I grew up in Detroit and thanked her for what she said. She thanked me back and seemed genuinely okay that I spoke to her.
I’m just now able to really process the week I’d just had (I was back in the office working after my flight landed and had to work long hours over the weekend at the MV Art & Wine Festival). I’m working on one last post that talks about the benefits of being a delegate.