My visit to the Democratic National Convention in Denver

Since it was just a few miles down the road, I took the afternoon off and went with a good friend to the Democratic National Convention in downtown Denver, Colorado. We didn’t have any sort of pass or ticket to get into any events, but we figured, ah, what the heck, let’s see what we can see. And see we did…
The following are the pictures I took on our afternoon of wandering around, starting with us scoring free tickets to the Panel on Combating Global Poverty and listening to two hours of very interesting discussion and commentary on the global crisis in poverty. Here’s a peek:

DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: global poverty panel

Going left to right is Ben Affleck, actor/advocate; Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development; Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, vice president of the African Region of the World Bank; Donald Payne, U.S. Representative, New Jersey; and program moderator Gayle Smith, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.


Not shown in the above picture were additional panelists Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senate majority leader and national co-chairman of ONE Vote ’08; Hernando de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy and co-chair of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor; Tim Wirth, former U.S. Senator and CEO of the United Nations Foundation; James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank; Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development.
I’ll say that Affleck was alright, Albright was unsurprisingly engaging, Birdsall was passionate but the man who really impressed both Klaus and I was Peruvian Hernando de Soto. Brilliant, coherent, thoughtful and modest speaker, I’m fired up to find out more about this man and learn more about his vision of a Latin America and, more generally, a world without poverty.
But let’s get on with those pictures, eh? 🙂

DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: guy cellphone pedicab

This guy in the pedicab was a great example of the intersection of politics, local pedal power and technology. Moments after I took this photo the crowd swarmed around him, but whatever this chap was talking about was sufficiently important that he was completely oblivious to everyone on the street.
The next few pics are why I started to wonder a few times whether I was in America or some police state. Check it out:
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: aurora police

Where does the little podunk city of Aurora keep this scary black vehicle anyway? Also, remember that blue elephant. We’ll revisit it again later in this blog entry. 🙂
And another one:
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: police golfcart

Did you know that the police had armored golf carts? I want one!
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: police on suv

Now you know why police SUVs have running boards, I suppose.
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: police parade

This just reminded me of one of those silly Police Academy movies, “Citizens on Patrol”. But the difference? These cops were all seriously bad muthas, from what we could see behind the big steel riot fence.
We also wandered around and saw at least one little media zoo, the CNN DNC stage, set up in a parking lot by the train station:
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: CNN stage

When CNN has establishing shots that show their background, it’s the nicely lit neon “Union Station” sign, which is actually in the far background, because in the middle background in that same direction is this:
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: tequila express

Could you ask for anything more appropriate than the party train? 🙂
There really was a lot of media on the ground at the DNC, I have to say, including people bicycling past with $5000 HD video cameras strapped to their backs and cameraman/commentators who were running along filming and talking into their fancy microphone at the same time.
And lots of interviews. Like this one:
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: yet another interview

The final few photos are related to a Rage Against the Machine (the band) sponsored protest march that wound its way from the Colosseum to the Pepsi Center (the center of the DNC activities):
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: scroungy protesters

Honestly, they were a bit scroungy and it was hard to figure out what they were protesting about. I think the unifying issue was being anti-war, but without any suggestions of how to address the fact that we do have troops in Iraq and we are involved, it seemed like a bunch of posers having a lark.
Except for the very last piece of the parade. A big blue inflated elephant which, naturally, we took for something from the DNC itself. But it wasn’t. It was for a porn site:
DNC08 - Democratic National Convention, Denver: porn is bipartisan

And with that last picture, I wish you all well and thank you for sharing my photo tour!

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