August 26, 2008
Last night after the Pepsi Center speeches drew to a close, I was filing photos from earlier in the day in the bowels of the Pepsi Center - the unassigned media filing room is in a practice gym for the Nuggets. Sitting next to me was Charles Robinson, a blogger from Maryland. He's an older black man with a weathered face and seen-it-all eyes. I showed him Web reports of protestors getting pepper sprayed in Civic Center Park. He glanced at the computer screen, sighed and said: "The same ole' sh--." I agree with that and I don't. Those are real people getting sprayed, real officers trying to ensure the safety of all, and real issues on the minds of citizens. But is there really a message? What do some protestors actually accomplish when, upon being released by officers, they raise their hands in victory like they just won a battle for freedom? I understand the anti-war sentiment. I don't understand the method of conveying it. And in terms of news value, are protestors in a park more relevant to the Democratic National Convention than, say, an energy panel where the future of how we all produce and consume energy - every day in nearly everything we do - is dissected and challenged by industry insiders and government officials, who shape public policy? Nowhere else than a convention of this magnitude could an aging, ailing Senator like Teddy Kennedy make an unscheduled appearance on a grand stage and be followed by potentially the first black First Lady of the United States, while just blocks away police and protestors are going at it in a city park.