Well, I didn’t really do any protesting in New York these past two days, but the bright side is that I didn’t get arrested either. What I did do is walk around Manhattan a whole lot, visit the RNC Not Welcome Convergence Center, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and the Progressive Tourist Bureau, scout the police perimeter around Madison Square Garden, and take lots of pictures. I witnessed a few interesting confrontations between delegates and anti-Bush folks, who managed to do nothing but hurl sound bites at one another.

The police’s behavior compared favorably with that of the DC police in such situations, with the exception of the officer who tried to give me a hard time as I walked into the ACLU’s storefront. “You got your ID?” he asked. “I need ID to go in here?” I replied, incredulous. “Yes.” I stared at him for about 10 seconds, trying to figure out under what kind of police state we were now living, and then he said “Just kidding.” I told him that it was completely inappropriate for someone in uniform to make that kind of joke. He apologized, but didn’t seem very sorry. Look, if passengers can’t joke in an airport security line, how can a police officer joke about needing to show him ID to visit the ACLU? I take my civil liberties seriously.

On Monday night I watched the convention coverage on TV with two Russians, my friend Denis and his houseguest Katya. Denis mentioned that his introduction to American politics had been a State of the Union speech of George H. W. Bush. “It was like watching a speech before the Supreme Soviet,” he said. After that, watching speaker after speaker gush nothing but praise for Bush and the crowd going wild, I began to wonder how anyone could think that we actually live in a democracy. The DNC was no better. We should all be frightened.

Advertisements