Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 1: David in St. Paul with the GOP

David McKee, 15, of Waxhaw is in St. Paul for the Republican National Convention. He's attending as a Junior Statesmen of America participant. He was in Denver last week with the Democrats. He's giving us his impressions in daily dispatches. Here's his first from St. Paul:

"Sunday we arrived in St. Paul on a direct flight from Charlotte. This time my friend Catherine has come along too.We are staying in a Holiday Inn. It has the that old 1980's look. You know, printed sheets, 80's colors and bad springy beds.

"We got in very early. The Junior Statesmen folks had arranged for a shuttle to the Mall of America. I didn't want to go, because I was worried that I would miss the last shuttle and get stranded there, so I just kicked back the afternoon.

"Sunday afternoon, I met another teen here with our group that said something that shocked me. He declared with in 5 minutes of my meeting him that all Democrats were Communists and Hippies. I didn't tell him my politics. He just said it like every one thinks this is true. He made me nervous.

"Today, we will go to the delegation breakfast of our state in the morning. Then, we will be hearing from an agent with the Secret Service that is in charge of Dignitary protective division. I think that is pretty cool. We will try and go to see a taping of Hardball with Chris Matthews. I did that at the DNC too, and it was very interesting.

"On Tuesday we are supposed to go to Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic which should be interesting. Later in the week, we are to get a visit from Bob Barr, who is the Libertarian candidate. But I know that he cannot win no matter what he does. His party did not get 15 percent of the vote in the last election, so he is not eligible for the electoral college. This is why an independent will never get elected. The electoral college is set up so that it basically protects the two party system.

"We are also to hear from Ariana Huffington later in the week. The speakers lined up to talk to our JSA group are very impressive. I would not have expected so many well-known people would want to talk to a group of teenagers.

"Sunday night we had a dinner for all the Junior State Teens that are here on this trip. I sat and watched two people have a dinner table debate. A George Bush supporter and a Libertarian were having a debate about the Iraq war. The Libertarian said, "Why are we in Iraq?" Then the Bush supporter said, "Because we had intelligence that said the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction." The Libertarian replied, "But that was false information, and it didn't come from Iraq, it came from US''. Hmmmm. Interesting discussion.

"I heard that the RNC has canceled all speakers for Monday and are planning on turning the convention into a fundraiser for hurricane victims. I have doubts about that."