A Delayed DNC Report

Oh, what a couple of weeks. Between preparing for the DNC and hosting out of town guests, my plans to return to blogging were somehow delayed. Now the excitement has passed and I’ve run out of excuses to avoid my computer. So, as I turn to this giant pile of bloggable stuff, I am wondering how on Earth I’ll ever catch up. Why not start with where I’ve already been?

Of course, this is old news now, as everyone has gone on to gossip about Sarah Palin, but I can’t help it... Barak Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC was incredible. My husband Alan and I got to attend, with pretty good seats:


At Barak Obama’s acceptance speech during the 2008 Democratic National Convention

It was quite exciting just to be there. The fact that the speech was so elegant and inspiring was a nice bonus. The theme of the speech, that "you can do anything you set your heart to" enthusiasm spoke to me on a personal level... after all, my parents used to tell me that all the time. Now, looking back, realizing that I’ve done pretty well at becoming who I wanted to be, I’m grateful for their encouragement. I was pretty keen on the idea of encouraging the nation in the same manner.

The DNC had me looking back a bit further than my own childhood, though. 100 years prior, Denver hosted the 1908 Democratic National Convention. I’d run across that bit of trivia in my historical research long before, so it was something of a novelty to be a part of history repeating.


17th and Tremont Street during the 1908 Democratic National Convention in Denver

Except I think things went a little more smoothly this time around. 100 years ago, in efforts to welcome the DNC visitors, a giant "Welcome" sign was erected near Union Station. It was dedicated by Mayor Speer, whose "City Beautiful" program initiated Denver’s "green" style. However, when they built the sign, they printed "Welcome" on both sides. So, one side actually faced downtown, "welcoming" visitors as they left. Then they tried to fix it:

Red-faced Chamber officials replaced that side of the sign with the word "MIZPAH." Denverites simply told visitors that it was an "Indian word" for "Howdy, Pardner."

Actually, mizpah is the Hebrew parting salutation found in Genesis 31:49: "The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another." Despite the mizpah misinterpretation, The Denver Post assured arriving Democrats, "We can read and write, lots of us, and we don’t know a woman in Denver who carries more than one revolver when she comes downtown shopping." (Via Tom Noel, Mile High City: The City Beautiful.)


Champa Street during the 1908 DNC

This time around, there weren’t any misinterpreted signs. They did, however, close some major roads around the city during Obama’s acceptance speech. Colfax avenue, one of our main drags, was closed off, and became a corridor for those of us walking in to the speech. (The shuttle busses stopped running at 2pm, even though the speech wasn’t until 8pm.)


Walking down Colfax to the 2008 DNC.

I wondered if the folks at the 1908 DNC walked up and down Colfax. Certainly, for the past 50 years or so, the road has accommodated stop-n-go commuters, rather than people on foot.

Some things don’t change. At the speech, we were handed American flags to wave around, filling the stadium with red, white, and blue:


Barak Obama waves to the patriotic crowds during his acceptance speech at the 2008 DNC.

Not too different from the lavish decorations at the Denver Auditorium in 1908:


Denver Auditorium, after being decorated in preparation for the 1908 DNC.

Now, maybe, in 2108, we’ll host another convention. I doubt I’ll be around to find out... I’d be 132 years old at that point... but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Historical images are from the Denver Public Library.

More like this

It worked so well for them: The cash keeps flowing in to the Obama campaign in the wake of Sarah Palin's speech, suggesting that whatever effect she's had on the GOP base has been duplicated on the Democratic side. Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor confirms that the campaign has now pulled in over $…
Yesterday I indulged myself and took a personal look backward. It was New Year's Eve, after all, the end of a year. Today is New Year's Day, the day we look to the year ahead. Is this the Year of The Big One (pandemically speaking)? Or another year of Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop? If we can't…
I've described how the Iowa caucus voting procedure is a ridiculous way to decide how might be the next president, but Iowa's and New Hampshire's insistence on being the first states might have cost the Democrats Florida. Here's what the Democrats did: Fearing likely attempts by big states like…
I just received this email from some communications group trying to publicize the virtues of the Democratic Party. It had the opposite effect on me — I am appalled. It's the usual Democratic strategic inanity of pushing to ape the Republicans instead of even trying to be a party of progressive…

Was there any demonstrations at the DNC?

SM, there were demonstrations, yes, but mostly of a peaceful nature. I did enjoy a small group of fanatic religious protesters with a megaphone who told me I was going to hell while I walked to the speech on Thursday. I think there were a few heated protests earlier in the week, but the total arrests for the week were only 200--and that includes all the typical drunk & disorderly type of arrests. I believe some parties at local universities have topped that.

I've started a climate change project called proxEarth.org. Many people have blogs, websites, and use social software sites (social networking, social bookmarking, photo and video sharing, etc.). Some standards for tags and text on blogs, websites, and social software sites could turn the whole global Internet into a kind of Web 2.0 participation platform for climate change. Iâm suggesting a few simple standards for tags and text that leverage processes of the sustainable ProxThink growth model. To get this going, we need people to adopt and use these standards. The project could also use contributors, collaborators, partners, funders and sponsors. To find out more, see: