Words and Photos by F LoBuono
Here's an insider's observation on both the Republican National Convention (RNC), held last week in Tampa Bay, Florida, and this week's Democratic National Convention (DNC) being held in Charlotte, North Carolina: First, BOTH parties spend an ENORMOUS amount of money to stage these events. It must cost TENS OF MILLIONS. They spare NO EXPENSE to showcase the power and influence each party weighs over the American political scene. The staging, the lighting, the parties, the "swag", the catering, etc., etc., etc., is simply extraordinary. No, it's more than that - it's exorbitant!!! The tent alone that connected two venues at the RNC was nearly a quarter of a mile long, and AIR CONDITIONED!! That alone had to cost tens of thousands of dollars. And the Democrats are no better. Elaborate parties, dolling out mountains of "swag" to impress delegates and donors, can be found all over the city of Charlotte. Don't you think this money could be better spent by simply helping the poor people of this Country? Perhaps it could be used to improve our schools. Or, god forbid, pay off some of our ever-expanding deficit!!! LOL
Second, the SECURITY is intense, omnipresent, and draconian. Now, as many of you have seen from some of my photos posted on Facebook, I'm wearing so many credentials around my neck that my back hurts just from trying to walk around in them!! I've submitted so much information to get them that the Secret Service now knows when I take a dump!! Yet, every time that I enter my work space, I have to jump through hurdles of security. There are are magnetometers that all of our equipment must pass through. There are pat downs that everyone must endure AND they confiscate everything from our leatherman multi-tools (which we NEED to do our jobs), to umbrellas, to water, to even our bananas!! Yes, that's right, they confiscate our bananas!!! We actually had the temerity to ask the Secret Service what harm a banana could possibly cause. Their response: it could be frozen and used as a projectile. Frozen? A projectile? Give me a freakin' break!! Besides, you could buy a banana once you got in the arena!! And it's the same shit over and over again, in BOTH places. I understand the need for security but it's simply ridiculous! Especially since I witnessed serious security lapses in other areas - like a policeman (I guess?) who cleared security by simply holding up a vest that he was carrying in one hand that said "POLICE" on it. He was waved in with no further questioning. But the Secret Service got my banana!
But there is more to it then just being "inconvenienced". Both Conventions are"caged" in - COMPLETELY. Huge, wire fences cordon off any venue holding an event. If you don't have a credential, you ain't gettin' near the place (for both the RNC and the DNC)!! Whole downtown areas are closed down, preventing even residents from getting anywhere near the events. Cars are towed. Businesses within the restricted areas are shuttered. Road blocks are everywhere. And this is America? Whatever happened to access to our leaders AND the political process? Whatever happened to a truly FREE PRESS and unfettered access to the people who actually work for US? What happened to the time when the White House was know as "THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE" and you could simply walk up to the front door? I know, the world has changed. Assassination ended that forever. 9/11and the devastation it caused, not only to the World Trade Center but to the American psyche as well, has made the world a more paranoid place. And it's real but it's also very sad. America is not only the HOME OF THE BRAVE, it's THE LAND OF THE FREE. Let us all commit to making sure that it stays that way. Protect your rights by speaking out AND living freely, in the truest sense of the word. POWER TO THE PEOPLE.