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Tears of the DNC

BY JOCELYN BRICK-TURIN

THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 -- Standing in line to present my press pass and gain access to the holy Fleet Center, I was accosted by fanatic protesters. More than once. Now Iíve heard on TV that protests have been remarkabley peaceful but when you are 5"2, 19 and alone in the collosal monstrosity of egos that is the DNC, the view is less than tranquil.

On my first trip to the Fleet Center, I asked a pro-Palestinian protester across the barrier if she had any literature for me to review. She didnít, but she did have a message. A really loud angry message that made me sorry Iíd given her the attention she desired. I asked simple questions, gave no opinions in an attempt to find out what she thought she knew. I had no false hopes of changing her mind, I only wanted to hear her goals and her purpose for being at the DNC. Iím curious. Iím a journalist. Within 10 minutes she was screaming at me, "You are a racist young woman!" so furiously we were both shaking and I crawled away crying the moment her attention was diverted to her next victim.

It wasnít this womanís issue, but her approach that appalls me. Same goes for the inconsiderate - or maybe just dumb - LaRouche supporters who blocked me while storming away from the Fleet Center after my second trip. I was on the phone, with mascara streaming down my face in rivers of salty disillusion (Iíll get to that...) and a LaRouche protester had the audacity to offer me literature. If ever there was a worse time to impose your crazy views un an unreceptive audience, I can not fathom it.

But lest you think the protesters, the poor almost voiceless sometimes-caged first-amendment-hugging animals are the only assholes drawing tears, Iíll tell you why I cried as I passed the LaRouchey in the first place. For those out of the loop, Fleet Center passes come in a variety of colors, sizes and levels of access. Though it is not completely clear if dark green or light green allows you on the third floor, if press red or press purple gets you on the floor or if blue is restricted anywhere at all. I spent two hours my first night finding the optimal spot. It was legal according my purple press pass and I could see the speakers clearly; crowds hardly noticed as I scooted up front. But a cop shouted at me when I returned there the third night of the convention. The barrier was no longer the limit - four feet behind it was. Then the whole area was cleared out and I asked, "Where can I go?" in the sweetest voice I could muster with my neck crained to meet his eyes towering above me. "MOVE!" He yelled again, and again and again for good measure. "YOU CANíT BE HERE!"

"But that wasnít the question, sir. Iím asking where I can go. Why are you shouting at me?"

"SO YOUíLL MOVE," he bellowed.

Tensions are running high, egos even higher. Everyoneís on a power trip so unless youíre actually someone, beware of those who think they are. Theyíre everywhere.

 


Issue Date: July 29, 2004
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