Last week I joined Arizona Democratic delegates and delegates from across America in Charlotte, N.C. at the DNC convention as we raised the roof off of the Time Warner Cable Arena with enthusiasm supporting President Barack Obama and officially nominating him as our candidate in November. What a 4-day ride filled with passion, excitement and energy! We’re anticipating and bracing for “The Thrill of Victory.”
My first thoughts before arriving were “Yes, I know we’ll take care of business,” and then, “Party, party!” Folks, I was a tired and worn-out brother after two days, however I would do it all over again tomorrow. I arrived Monday night, sat on my bed and said: “Wow! (This was one of those fancy memory foam beds with the sleep number dials.) Goodie’s going to be sleeping on a cloud in heaven for four nights,” only to find out all delegates needed to be downstairs at 7 a.m. to pick up credentials every morning to gain access to all caucus events and the convention. Breakfast was from 7:30 to 9 a.m. with high profile guest speakers. Charter Buses started arriving at the hotel at 9:30 a.m. taking delegates for a 25-minute ride to the downtown Convention Center to different caucuses starting at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., with the convention starting at 5 p.m.
Picture airport TSA agents, moving conveyer belts checking bags, purses etc. and metal detectors. Security was tight checking everything and everybody going into the convention. Credentials were asked for before you boarded buses, entering the convention, and upon returning to your seat in the arena after stepping out to get a snack or use the restroom. Usually the last keynote speaker speech ended around 10:45 p.m. every night, which meant each state’s delegation had to line up at certain sections around the convention center to board their designated buses. The earliest we got back to our hotel was around 12:30 — if we were lucky — where hot hors d’oeuvre and drink were waiting for us in the hotel bar lounge which meant going to bed around 2 a.m. There were many requests for 6 a.m. wake-up calls.
People, it was surreal listening to all the speakers especially the keynote speakers, including the First Lady, former President Clinton (that man’s still amazing), Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama, who was “Fired Up and Ready to Go.” However the arena erupted with joy and yes, tears, when our Gabby Giffords walked on stage. We love you, Gabby.
I met many delegates from across the country but was starting to feel like Sheriff Joe attracting TV stations asking for interviews on the convention. However I was bombarded by European camera crews from Germany, Spain, Italy and several others for interviews. I asked a reporter from a Washington, D.C. station that only feeds broadcasts to Europe why they were so interested in me; I’m a nobody. He stated there’s a great fascination in Europe with the American Cowboy, the big belt buckle, boots and big cowboy hat especially worn by a big tall African-American wearing a stars and stripes shirt. Go figure? Maybe I’ll add a trip to Europe on my bucket list (LOL).
In closing, this DNC was the biggest event of my life and I know my Mom would have been proud as her spirit was present. I have but only one regret: I never got to enjoy that heavenly bed, nor use the sleep number dial. Once I laid down glancing at that 1:45 a.m. clock, it was thoughts of that rude-awakening, dreaded 6:30 a.m. wake- up call. It was lights out, “Good Night Irene” as I closed my eyes picturing maple sausages and a big bowl of Carolina grits and butter waiting for me in four hours — “Fired Up and Ready to Go!”
John Goodie of Gilbert is a Mesa park ranger.