Late night. A day of wandering the streets of downtown Denver with thousands of slackjawed visitors also trying to find the pulse of this place. It is a city this week with too many arteries for a single pulse. All you get is the staccato of millions of us pushing together to move our nation on past this disastrous period in our country's history. We all mutter quietly, "May we please end the era when we whisper our nationality in foreign countries, where we know so much of our soul has been sold to the highest bidder and where we have grown so soft and unambitious as to our role in the world." As if our entire foreign policy for the past eight years had been crafted by Texans and tank makers just trying to figure out how much they theoretically could make if they completely had their way with federal regulations and our nation's use of military might. If.
But Denver is where we all look ahead. You do feel the heavy hearts of those who have not let go of having Hillary as the next president of the united states. The endless booths of buttons and t-shirts and stuff with Senator Obama's beautiful face on it must feel like a slap to some of them. But we will work to heal that. They themselves seem to be working to heal that. There will always be fanatics. That's OK. It happens. Hopefully we all know what is worth stressing about and what is not. Some people's minds you can not change. You thank them kindly and move on. You leave them in peace.
And one can not leave this evening without note of the number of police here on the streets of downtown. In riot gear. Mostly directing traffic and, by their own account, finding even the most "frightening" protests pretty tame so far. Carol and I have even been amused to see how often the black clad helmeted ones end up giving directions to those of us lost or searching for some event venue. They answer from behind the plexiglass shields, from horses backs or bikes or motorcycles. We thank them smiling.
What of the pulse? Rapid. It is easy to miss even knowing what you have missed. People walk about with their "credentials" on around their necks, announcing they are delegates. We moved quietly from street to street, Carol and I happily incognito. We found it nice to go and seek out gay people at receptions and fundraisers to visit with. This is a place where anyone political from anywhere will be gathering this week and talking strategy for elections or policy. The word "change" is a big one for gay people. We have much to change. We have a long list of what needs to happen before we find equality under our nation's laws-- just to provide for our families, raise our children in peace, plan for emergencies, care for sick loved ones and die knowing our partners will be respected along with our wishes after deaths. That's a good little set of policies to change. But if anyone can do these hard things, if anyone can get our nation there, it is the man whose face stares out from every corner and street vendor stall. Who else is eloquent and persuasive enough to bring a nation to understand why gay people matter, how regardless of race or income, citizenship or marital status, we are all part of America? We belong. We are ready to dig in and help solve the problems of a nation in crisis, if we are only given a place at the table.
So Denver beats with a million footfalls and fingers tapping. Tomorrow we begin. 7:30 AM breakfast meetings with our state groups clustered around conference tables in hotel meeting rooms. Idaho is out here 45 minutes from downtown with Guam and Indiana. At 3PM we find out where we have been moved to since Joe Biden's little state bumped us from our nifty spot on the convention room floor. We are humble and don't expect too much. Swing states will be up front. Texas moaned about our being closer than them. It isn't flattering to moan. We will smile and wave from where ever we are. We have mighty delegation in ways you will soon learn.