DELEGATE FORUM -- DAY 2
August 27, 1996
The delegates responded to these other questions:
A question from Jessica Barber of Villanova, PA:
Are the delegates an eccentric lot?
The delegates depicted on television are dressed in bright patriotic colors, wearing foam heads and brandishing gimmicks such as stuffed donkeys. Are you guys really that eccentric, or are those just the folks the media decides to focus their cameras on?
The delegates respond:
John K. Bailey, Charleston, West Virginia
I think that your second guess is closer to the truth, because the cameramen/women are always looking for something interesting to shoot. Of course, we do have our share of eccentric people. Also, when you are actually in the convention hall, you are in the middle of an extremely exciting and festive atmosphere, so you are much more likely to sport the foam hat or brandish the donkey doll than you would be at home.
Randy Horiuchi, Salt Lake City, Utah
The answer is that at times, some delegates are eccentric and do want to be noticed. A number of the delegates are so intense about coming to a convention that they sometimes accentuate their excitement with their appearance. Also, when delegates see other conventions they notice the foam heads and other outlandish stuff and they think it is cool.
Greg Martin, Keene, N.H.
Primarily, the cameras are trying to find good visuals for the television viewers. Most of the delegates are "normal" Americans, like you and me! I have met other delegates from all walks of life and backgrounds. Not everyone had a funny hat on.
Onita Hamblin, Kansas City, Kansas
No, we are not eccentric. For example, I as a person, a woman, made my own hat with the donkey on top. And on top of the donkey, there's a picture of myself, the President and the First Lady having dinner at the White House. And to me that was an honor to dine with the President, and that's why I sported my hat, so that the world would notice and know what kind of President we have. I wouldn't call that eccentric at all.
Jacquelyn Saylor, Atlanta GA
We as delegates definitely have spirit and patriotism. The cameramen are trained to pick out the unusuals in the crowd, but there are more than the two or three that they keep reshowing. It is not the norm to have a big stuffed cheese-hat on your head, like the woman from Wisconsin, but the outward show of enthusiasm is appreciated and welcomed.
Penfield Tate, Denver, CO
Some of both. Some people are playing strictly for the media. When they receive airtime by the media this simply reinforces the behavior. The message conveyed is not nearly as important to them as the exposure. With others, they are very passionate about their politics and beliefs. The demonstrative behavior becomes a way to express the passion and strength of their beliefs.
Treva Tumbleson, Ashland, Oregon
I believe that the latter description is correct, the media focuses their cameras on the more eccentric delegates. The media quite naturally gravitate to the unusual. It's not news if it is every day. Why would they focus on the banal?