Paul Constant works for Seattle’s Stranger, so he travelled from the RNC Con in Tampa to the DNC site in Charlotte via an appropriately alternative method of public transport:
If you’re looking for the opposite of the Republican National Convention, you can’t do much better then taking a Greyhound overnight from Tampa to Charlotte. It’s cheap, it’s small-scale, and it’s exactly the opposite of exclusive—older white men and the wealthy are nowhere to be seen. There are a lot of single moms, and as opposed to the white-collar criminals you’ll find at the RNC, the ex-cons on a Greyhound have actually done time in real prisons…
… Before I started my 17-hour trek, I suspected that I wouldn’t hear anything about politics at all. I was wrong; everyone was talking about Clint Eastwood and the empty chair where Obama was supposed to be. They thought it was fucking hilarious. The TV stations in the bus terminals were showing CNN, which was apparently running footage of Eastwood’s chair interview on a 24-hour loop, with Anderson Cooper smirking at it last night, and the Saturday morning news host presenting it straight-facedly this morning. And when my bus was leaving South Carolina, the people sitting around me couldn’t believe the billboard they saw, with an Obama head poorly Photoshopped onto the body of a baseball player. The sign warned us that Obama now had three strikes against him—no hope, no jobs, no something else I didn’t catch. “Look at that shit,” the man in the seat in front of me said. “Look what they’re saying about Obama.” The billboard pissed everyone off.
I have no idea how the DNC will go, but I can tell you that the speakers at the RNC did not mention the people on these buses even once. They don’t care about Greyhound riders. They don’t give a shit about the man who had his license suspended in Florida and was desperately trying to get to New York to get a job as a driver before electronic news of his suspension made it up to NYC. (“I’m 66. It’s not like I’m going to learn how to do anything else,” he told his friend.) They don’t care about the homeless or the mentally ill who have no other way of getting from city to city. They don’t care about the guy who works in Orlando for Disney theme parks because the money’s too good to refuse, even though he commutes by bus once a week to be with his family and girlfriend in Charlotte. This is poverty—the kind of poverty that people like Sean Hannity scoff at—and it’s very real…
And if you need a chuckle, check out his photo of the “full force of the Republican counter-offensive” now going on in Charlotte, too.
What’s on the agenda this afternoon, for those of us not in Charlotte?