Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cirque de Charlotte 2012

All photos by Getty Images and Associated Press photographers

“We didn't reinvent the circus. We repackaged it in a much more modern way.” 

Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberte was describing his business model. But, he could’ve been talking about the 2012 Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte last week.

Big Screens. Busloads. Banners. Broadcasters. Bloggers. Flashing Lights. Shooting Stars. Yes, yes. The president and all that.

Who cares about politics?  I’m talking about the pomp, the pageantry.  Oh! What a spectacle it was - with the entire world watching, to boot.

Though I never made it inside the arena for the gladiator show, I absorbed the positive street vibe which is a mainstay of national conventions. Heck, even the Republicans want to throw a party here next time, according to news reports. 

Also according to reports, Charlotte is unfailingly clean and friendly, even if we were over-policed and bedbugs made too prominent an appearance in some rental rooms. Oh, yeah, weather put a damper on the “people’s party” at the last minute.

But, if you’re a fan of human nature, it was worth the price of admission last week to simply stroll the streets. 

The excitement began for me the moment I stepped off the Lynx Light Rail platform and onto Stonewall Street where vendors peddled everything from pro-life propaganda to pet collars for presidential candidates. There were jugglers, musicians, cops, kids, politicians, protestors and an endless supply of people in funny hats.

As a former newspaper gal, I took great pleasure in watching members of the media trip over each other to cover everything from foreign policy to celebrity sightings. Journalists are not shy about hanging around the  food tents spitting cracker crumbs at each other and swapping notes. 

Media Command Centers were everywhere! Print. Electronic. Everything in between. The air buzzed.

Back home, I enjoyed reading the news stories and watching the coverage from the comfort of my well-worn living room couch. 

Some pundits were  a hoot. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart taped his show out of my favorite uptown  library with a crack crew of funny sidekicks. "You're all so nice. It's starting to get annoying."

Others were crabby. Charles Krauthammer, despite his self-styled brilliance, channeled Eyeore on a bad day.  

Brit broadcaster Piers Morgan stirred fond memories of old-school newsrooms when he interviewed subjects – highbrow and low – from a bar stool in that boozy, newsy-kinda way that made you feel like you were eavesdropping on your parents’ late night party. Commentators commented from every corner.

Charlotte’s more like a Ghost Town than a Host Town today because the circus came and went.

I don’t know if the bluster on either political sides will settle down and amount to much. 

I continue to pray that we’re going to shake hands and play nice when the time comes to really serve this great nation. I’ll continue, in the meantime, to perform my civic duties, in all their various forms, just in case.

But, I will say this. The party sure was fun.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm going in!

My First Born in a Land I'll Never See

“If you want me, I’ll be in Prague.”

This - from a male in my household who, just a couple of years ago, couldn’t find Prague if it arrived on his doorstep. 
But there he was, days later on Facebook with a travel memo and photos ...additional flesh art crawling up his arm, smiling his little self-satisfied grin having just concluded a pub crawl with colleagues.

Me? I’m just the mother with nary a postcard over the last year of my son’s journey across the pond.

I dig postcards and implore him to write. With a pen. Oh, and to use a stamp. It's an old-school thing. He prefers cyber salutations. I harass him. In a good way.

It’s mother-guilt, I know.
It’s mother love, no doubt.
It’s a little envy and a whole lot of “missing him.”

He’s traveling into spots not far from his military duties where he takes advantage of the R & R. Deep down, I know that, despite the opportunity and adventure, he really misses home.  
We tell him to “stay the course, son.” Four years is over pretty quick and there’s not much to come back to here in the dismal United States of Where-The-Hell-Are-We-Going?

The Democratic National Convention is in town this week. I’m going to observe the circus, if for no other reason than, to connect - to feel  less lost, less homesick, less forgotten.

My president’s First Lady thanked my family - and thousands like us - last night in front of millions of viewers. Our Mom-in-Chief thanked the kids serving our country. She thanked military families. I'm determined to find her and hug her for that. It's a long shot but what isn't these days?

So, son – if you want me, I’ll be uptown Charlotte.

I’m going in!