Sunday, August 29, 2004
And So We Begin

It's time, kids... the convention that every left-minded person I know has been dreading is about to get underway. It's not the convention we fear -- we know what to expect from that (and it will all be dealt with on an ongoing basis in the blogosphere throughout the next three days), it's the protests. Or more pointedly, it's the response to the protests: we fear that New York City '04 will become an echo of Chicago '68. The New Yorkers I know are particularly anxious -- this is, after all, their city that's under the gun (both literally and figuratively), and the last thing they need is civil unrest in the streets.

I think, from those I've spoken to who are going, that the vast majority of people are aware of the necessity of a resolutely non-violent attitude, and they intend to keep their protests above reproach. On the other hand, there will always be troublemakers (from both sides) involved in something this big; the cops, in turn, will probably be particularly high-strung this week. We may have an advantage over Seattle in that here the cops, to a surprisingly not-small degree, are perhaps more sympathetic to the protestors' goals... although, on the other hand, cops are sort of the ultimate blue-collar Republicans: they will follow their orders from the big guys regardless of what it means for them and their community. This all seems to suggest that however peaceable the protestors are, it will be difficult to avoid trouble in New York this week. I sincerely hope that we manage it -- to name our deepest fear, nobody on this side wants to see bloodshed -- but I'll be surprised and amazed if we get through this without some ugliness.

In any case, the city as an entity is immensely pre-disposed to back the protestors rather than the invading Republican hoards. I don't know whose idea it was to have the convention in NYC (seriously, why not just have it in Baghdad?), but I bet they get fired when it's all over. Politicizing 9/11 (the only rationale for doing this) is an exceptionally unpopular activity, and without that, all they've got is a hostile city that, by and large, is solidly liberal territory. Put it this way: this is perhaps the worst week in history to be a Republican tourist in NYC. I'm glad I'm not one of 'em.

(Apparently the only people more concerned about what awaits us all in New York than the protestors are, well, Republicans... but at least our fears aren't riddled with paranoia.)

I don't anticipate writing much about the convention here -- or at least not much that's interesting, since I'm neither a) there, nor do I b) have a source there (unless Randy wants to send in some notes from the front) -- but it's going to be the big news of the week, and the nation is watching with trepidation, so it seems worth mentioning.

PS In other news, it was announced yesterday that Australia's election will take place on October 9, which is pretty much right when Smithers predicted it would be. So 10 points to him for calling it. Maybe (hint, hint) he'll post something about it sometime, eh?
1:22 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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