The 2004 Republican National Convention is under way … I think. Yep, there they are, behind the protesters.
Police are out in force, in part to keep track of the mob and in part to look for terrorists. Some protesters are performing their civic duty, helping authorities root out threats to America by displaying “Bush is a terrorist” signs. I don’t think Homeland Security is biting though.
Whether or not the convention turns out to be chock full of protests, the mere suggestion of them have made more news than the convention itself. Granted, the outcome is known going in, which eliminates any suspense. Political conventions used to pique an onlookers curiosity because they were full of more surprises than Paris Hilton’s strep culture, but those days are gone. The news void leaves the media to focus on the ancillary activities.
The protester turnout could be much higher this year, due to several factors – the war in Iraq, heated domestic issues, the year 2000 swan song for Al Gore’s sanity, and the fact that the convention is in New York City. Millions of revenge-filled Democrats and steaming political southpaws living in proximity to Madison Square Garden means ready access to the convention, and increased media coverage by reporters who need only lean out their living room windows to photograph Macy’s Special Interest Day Parade.
Will the convention itself be disrupted, as promised by many? Doubtful. Leftist protesters have a habit of over promising and under delivering. Protest organizers tend to sound a lot like tin-pot dictators. “You will swim in rivers of dimpled chads, feel the wrath of mother nature, and be buried in ‘You can’t hug your kids with nuclear arms’ bumper stickers!” Then, at event time, only a few dozen show up – some only because they were promised a pint of Yukon Jack or some other such trivial payment accepted as legitimate currency by employees of the left’s largest election year corporations – “Rent a Mob” and its subsidiary, “Lease a Voter.”
Actually, the protests began before the convention even got under way. Last Thursday, a group of AIDS activists stood naked near Madison Square Garden, blocking West 33rd Street, demanding that President Bush make good on his promise to help HIV-positive people in poor countries. From the looks of it, a few of them also need to boycott Krispy Kreme for a while.
On Friday, thousands of cyclists rode through midtown Manhattan, clogging traffic and yelling “No more Bush.” Too bad they weren’t chanting that on Thursday – perhaps this would have prompted some people on West 33rd Street to put their pants back on.
For Sunday’s festivities, a couple hundred thousand people were expected to march to protest Bush economic policies, the war in Iraq and the erosion of civil liberties since 9-11, when over 3,000 people suffered the ultimate violation of their civil liberties at the hands of, well, not Bush. Organizers of this march were denied a permit to rally in Central Park because city officials said it would damage the grass, presumably because of feared trampling and/or they’d try to smoke it. The organizers for this rally should have just told the city that the permit was for a Simon and Garfunkel concert, and they’d have been rubber stamped “Approved” within five minutes or less.
Perhaps one of the biggest battles this week will be of the inter-family variety. Alec Baldwin’s brother, actor Stephen Baldwin, will make an appearance at the Republican convention, and not as a protester – as an actual Republican. Thanksgiving at the Baldwin household may be a little quieter this year – especially after Stephen is beaten to death by a drumstick. As always, People for the Ethical Treatment of Alec Baldwin will be there to support Alec through his time of family strife.
The Great New York Bush Bash of 2004 promises to be filled to the brim with dissent. The one thing protesters should keep in mind is that the threat of another terrorist attack is high. Police and other security will be there in force, but they may be busy dealing with all the domestic protests, which could make it easier for a rogue nut case to slip through the cracks and detonate his or her hatred upon America – an America that includes Americans protesting at the GOP convention, by the way. Protesters should be sure to not cause too much of a disruption for the police, since it would be counterproductive if the reason they got blown up by a terrorist was because they were protesting Bush’s policy on terrorism.