Janie and I decided toÂ walk the four blocksÂ from ourÂ 7th StreetÂ homeÂ in downtown Saint Paul, andÂ welcome the visitors to our fine, economically stagnant backwater.Â Â Among other things, we wanted to invite them to enjoy all the empty retail spaces that were temporarily filledÂ to look like viableÂ businesses during their stay.Â Naively perhaps, I envisioned beig able to go right up to the doors of the hockey arena and get to know our fellow Americans.
I guess not.Â Rightly or wrongly, the Republicans consider the public far too dangerous to welcome in.Â Granted there was probably a bit of security surrounding the Democratic National Convention, but when John McCain accepts the nomination tonight, I don't think it will be before the eyes of tens of thousands of average Joes.Â It's a private party, and it's been a private party for the last eight years.
Let's digress here.Â A few years ago, Janie had the privelege of cornering then Saint Paul mayor Norm Coleman about snow being piled into the curb cuts.Â Â He said "I'm glad you brought that up . . . " and launched into all he was doing to ensure access to all citizens.Â I guess heÂ didn't remember to passÂ her concerns along toÂ his fellow Republicans - be aware of the value of curb cuts at this event.
Not daunted, I suggested we go around to the other side.Â Maybe the entrance was over there.
We followed a route marked by 8 1/2 X 11 sheets directing us to the West 7th Neighborhood.
Â There was a diversion or two here and there, but we persisted, until finally we had arrived at the other side, where we were greeted with . . .
We continued following the signs, which took us almost all the way up the hill to the cathedral, by the pizza place down 7th Street, around and down onto Shepard road by the river, and back up by the Union Depot.Â At the end of the day, it takes an hour and forty-five minutes to walk around this little tent of a fort that has been erected in our community.
And while the party leadership is focused on talking to the loyal within this little tent, we on the outside are still getting information on the Republican party, only it's being delivered by persons who are having a bit of trouble staying on message.
Unless you can get in to hear the kinder and gentler party line - why is it the Democratic party never needs to promise "to be kinder and gentler?" - you get the message that is available in places they don't bother to go.
This is the first post I'll be doing about the Republican National Convention.Â Our balcony overlooks the street leading to the hockey arena where the event was held, 4 blocks away.
The next post in this series, with photos and video of the protest marches,Â can be viewed by clicking here.Â Â By the way, we saw no marchers in support of the RNC.Â None.Â (Well, there was the one guy holding his "gay Obama is a murderer" sign . . .