There are a lot of people from the Twin
Cities who would rather go without the hassle
the Republican National Convention is bringing
to our lives. I've lived in St. Paul for
12 years and there are more detours, protesters,
and people downtown than I've ever seen
Now I am working with ThreeSixty's journalism
program to cover the GOP Convention. My
friends ask if I'm a Republican when I tell
them my assignment. Normally I'm more of
a sports guy, but I thought it would be
a great opportunity to cover an event of
So far, I've only talked to delegates. Mike
Knopf, a 17-year-old delegate from Dubuque,
Iowa, said he believes the party needs to
attract younger voters in order for John
McCain to win.
"If I had to make the case for McCain
to younger voters, I'd make the case of
Democrats being for higher taxes and Republicans
being for lower taxes. So you get to keep
your money," Knopf said.
Monday, I overheard a Wisconsin delegate
tell another one from Illinois that the
party needs to work harder to appeal to
The convention heats up
Monday was the first official day of the
convention, but with no McCain, no Bush,
and worries about Hurricane Gustav, the
energy felt sucked out of Xcel Energy Center.
While many delegates walked around wearing
"Stop Obama Express" stickers,
the atmosphere was subdued. The floor, where
delegates sit, was crowded, but there were
many empty seats in the stands. Protests
outside the hall couldn't be heard.
With the hurricane's fury spent, Tuesday's
speakers turned to firing up the crowd and
taking shots at Obama.
Chalene Fang, a delegate from Georgia,
defended McCain's choice of Alaska Gov.
Sarah Palin as his running mate.
"She has more experience than Barack
Obama and Joe Biden making executive decisions,"
St. Paul on display
One local lady I talked to was concerned
about how the national spotlight would affect
St. Paul's reputation. Right across the
street from Xcel is the Dorothy Day Center,
a shelter for the homeless. Between the
hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. people from the
homeless shelter hang out in front of the
shelter. On my way down to the convention
early this week, I saw some of these people
from the shelter, and I do think people
might think that the city doesn't take care
of its poor.
Admittedly, the protesters have added a
certain amount of color to our small-town
city. Three days before the convention started,
protesters had already started making some
noise, but next week, things will be back
to the way they were before.
Overall, the city has been doing a pretty
good job of showing a lot of courtesy. St.
Paul is a nice place to be. People in Minnesota
in general are pretty nice. We've been doing
a pretty good job of showing our true colors.
This article is made possible by the generous
support of the Arsalyn Foundation (www.arsalyn.org).