The town’s all abuzz, in one way or another: the Democratic National Convention is coming to town next month. The City fathers and mothers have been gearing up for this for months now. And if their plans work out, I swear that each and every convention delegate will have his/her every step in Denver dogged by a passel of smiling volunteers who want to imprint on their altitude-impaired brain the mantra that “Denver is wonderful; I will spend a lot of money here and go home and tell everyone that Denver is wonderful and they need to come and spend all their money here” help them enjoy their stay.
Of course, there has been constant chatter about the Terrific Economic Benefits that will fall into the laps of all kinds of local businesses. Along with official assurances that downtown will not be essentially shut down by all the security arrangements that are, sadly, necessary for such an event in the 21st Century. Sure it won’t.
Then we have the constant media buzz starring pre-disgruntled pre-protesters who are pre-suing to be sure they get their First Amendment rights and of course all the attendant publicity which is part of their First Amendment rights. Just yesterday a bunch of self-proclaimed anarchists promised they would go away and not protest if Denver spent its $50 million federal grant for security for social programs which would be funny if not so utterly stupid but then the spokesguy for the anarchists got media attention which is the whole point isn’t it?
I don’t plan to leave town during convention week because of work and other commitments. The one potentially cool thing about all of it is that Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech not in the Pepsi Center where the convention will be held, but outdoors in our big fancy football stadium, on the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Hope we don’t get one of those late summer evening thunderstorms although if it’s timed right it could actually add to the occasion.
Out at the Big Top for my volunteer stint last Sunday, I saw these T-shirts in a shop. I’m not exactly “allergic” to the uproar, but neither have I chugged the Chamber of Commerce Kool-aid about the event. I’m a somewhat interested observer who hopes to give the actual event – and the horrible traffic tie-ups it is going to cause – as wide a berth as I can under the circumstances.