August 30, 2012
On the way to last night’s convention, I boarded a bus from our hotel with my Uncle Bill who is a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida. One of the first things Uncle Bill said once the bus left the hotel parking lot, headed for the Republican National Convention was, “Where is he going?” Followed up a few minutes later with, “He’s going the long way around. Why isn’t he taking the direct route?” and “This bus driver must not be from this area. He must just be following signs and will end up getting us there much later than we should.” Uncle Bill was correct, the bus ride that should have taken 25 minutes, took 40 minutes. We were the lucky ones. The other bus, which happened to be carrying most of our delegation and which left the hotel within a couple of minutes of the one I was on, took 3 hours to reach the Convention Center. One of our delegates who was on that bus and riding in the seat immediately behind the driver and immediately across the aisle from an armed security guard, overheard the guard speak into his walkie-talkie reporting that their bus was lost after they had already been on it for an hour and a half. The bus driver had two, yes two, GPS units guiding him.
All of this could certainly be purely accidental, a bus driver who was brought in at the last minute from some far away state to transport people to and from the Convention Center without knowing the roads. Except it was not just this bus. I was waiting outside the Convention Center to receive delegate credentials for one of our delegates who was staying off site and did not want to waste the fuel and the time to drive all the way to the hotel that morning to pick up his credentials. Since I was waiting outside, I was visiting with many of the volunteers who were stationed to check credentials as people were entering, and was standing where all who entered must pass right by me. Buses were coming in in waves, four or five at a time, and did not cease until after 8:00 p.m. The Convention convened for the day at 7 p.m.
Maybe it was purely coincidence and poor planning on the part of the RNC, but within the early line-up of last night’s business was a tribute video to Congressman Ron Paul and a speech by his son, Senator Rand Paul. Neither of these, nor any of the other early speakers of the night, were well attended due to the late arrival of so many delegations. Once again, I am not going to claim a vast conspiracy by the organizers of the RNC to ensure that these events were not well attended, but considering that the two fights from the previous day were led primarily by Ron Paul supporters, it does seem incredibly coincidental that this snafu happened on the night of these two events. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that they sorted Ron Paul supporters out and just held them up. It was all delegates, from all delegations who were held up. If this were intentional, it would have had the effect of ensuring that there was a small audience for the tribute video and for the speech of his son.
After the fact, I heard rumors of an accident on one of the bridges where a car caught on fire. I have not heard whether or not this is true, it was a rumor. I also heard that one entire road was shut down because of a couple hundred Occupy Wall Street protestors which caused several buses to be rerouted. Again, this is a rumor and I do not know the accuracy of same. There could be legitimate reasons for the snafu and, if so, I hope the RNC gets the problem fixed tonight.
Shortly after the majority of the delegations did finally arrive, many delegates, from many states, led by the Texas delegation, led a protest of the new rules that were forced upon us by walking around the Convention Center. This protest was designed to give an idea of just how many delegates were not pleased with the rule changes and the behavior of the leadership on the preceeding day. It remains to be seen if they take notice.
In spite of all the snafus, hold ups, and protests, the Convention was electrified. In deference to the 5th commandment, I secured a delegate badge from one who was leaving early and got Uncle Bill seated on the floor with the Colorado delegation. Although we are philosophically opposed in our political ideology, he is my uncle and my elder, so I did what I could do to give him the opportunity of his lifetime. If nothing else, I feel strongly that we need to treat each other with respect, even when we don’t agree with them. This is the only way that we can educate others to the message of liberty: be respectful, build relationship, educate. It is difficult to educate without relationship, and relationship only comes when there is mutual respect.