The DNC celebrity fest, from a distance

This week, more reminders that police and the major parties have mastered the trick of keeping protesters at a distance from national conventions without making mass arrests that might result in bad publicity.

That’s why this year’s DNC is at the Wells Fargo Center, one of several sports venues on Philly’s southern fringe, far removed from any actual street life. You can see for miles down there, but all you can see are parking lots, ballparks and arenas.

Hardcore Bernie loyalists, Jill Stein supporters and other protesters are permitted to march down Broad Street and gather in FDR Park, to the west of Wells Fargo Center, in the unrelenting July heat, but fences prevent them from getting anywhere near the center itself.

In fact, they can do little more than march past one another chanting slogans — preaching to the choir, as it were — with the knowledge they will be herded into police vans and face federal charges if they do anything cops deem disruptive.

Philly is my hometown. I’ve biked to the convention scene several times to join the protesters, but the setting raises an age-old question: If thousands of protesters chant in a place where no one else can hear them, do they really make a sound?

Inside the convention center rich celebrities, one after another, have taken the stage to tell us commoners why we should vote for Hillary, who in the past has taken exactly the wrong stand on many issues important to progressives.

Paul Simon sang and so did Alicia Keys. Meryl Streep’s speech was a testimonial for Hillary. And so on. The message of the event is that Democrats must unite in order to make sure Donald Trump is defeated. A good message, but why all the celebrity kitsch?

On Monday, former Bernie supporter Sarah Silverman went so far as to admonish nay-sayers in the building. She said, “To the Bernie-or-bust people, you’re being ridiculous.”

To which I would have replied, “To me, Sarah, the fact that you can scold Bernie die-hards on national TV, just because you’re a celebrity, is ridiculous. Your presumption that you can influence my vote, just because you’re a celebrity, is insulting. Vote for whomever you prefer. Meanwhile, please shut the fuck up.”

8 thoughts on “The DNC celebrity fest, from a distance

  1. Odd Man, you’re smarter than this. There are miilions of people, including Bernie supporters, who say what Silverman said. Millions who feel that following a third way in this case is ridiculous.

    The choice is between a vicious buffoon spouting fascist slogans and one of the most accomplished and truthful (Abrahamson, NYT) candidates in US history.

    When both were in the Senate, Clinton and Sanders voted the same way 93% of the time. She’s *left*-center. She’s left of Obama. She’s no more of a warmonger than other mainstream politicians, and less so than many.

    So, yes, the feeling that it’s ridiculous to think she’s some kind of not good enough is widely shared. Sarah Silverman doesn’t get to say it because she’s a celebrity. She gets heard because she’s a celebrity.

    But, really, please, I know it’s horrible that the world is not a better place. I actually agree with that 100%. But from where we stand now, we can make it a lot worse. It really is a good idea to face that and not help the destruction, even from the best motives.

  2. I love that most of the commenters here just can’t help themselves from the hippie punching. Keep it up! It’s the true spirit of the Clinton campaign!

  3. As many have noted, the problem progressives are having is that we are like 4-year cicadas: every 4 years we emerge from out cocoons and make lots of noise, then fade away.

    To make a difference, take over the local party apparatus, then the state apparatus. In 4 – 8 years, it’ll be the progressives at the convention.

  4. Marching around in 100 degree heat is a bit ridiculous not matter how right you are. The best and most effective commentary I’ve seen is on social media (just not Trump).

    In this era of guns speak louder than words – it’s probably time to think of better ways to protest than trying to disrupt convention halls. And young progressives absolutely should take on their local and state apparatus. Or at least GTFO and vote in mid-terms.

  5. Without “marching around,” and a lot of bloodshed, there would have been no Civil Rights Act, no labor unions, no… you get the idea. How “effective” are people who sit on their asses tweating and so forth? They do nothing but foster illusions of protest.

  6. The campaign has vehemently denied this story, and McAuliffe has already admitted he didn’t actually discuss it with her.

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