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Misconceptions quashed at Democratic National Convention

September 10, 2012|By Steve Appleford

The road this week to Charlotte, N.C., was paved with misconceptions. At the Democratic National Convention, mine included expectations for a cab on a rainy opening day, as I spent an hour outside my motel with a trio of button salesmen down from New York, waiting and waiting.

It was my ninth national political convention, so I should have known better. Even in a huge city like New York, a political gathering like this can turn life upside down. In Charlotte, the small but vibrant “jewel of the South,” demand for rides to the convention far outstretched capacity. So the button men and I bused it.

Another misconception came in the form of commentary leading up to the DNC, with predictions of malaise and disappointment, since it could never hope to match the mania of Barack Obama’s historic 2008 White House run. It was another misconception shattered, as any delegate could have told you.

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The experience of delegates arriving to nominate President Obama for a second term was mostly ecstatic, regardless of rain, heat and seeping humidity. That’s what it was like for Glendale’s Juliet Minassian, 50, the only Armenian American in the California delegation, who arrived from Iran 15 years ago, and told me, “This is the very little that I can do for the country that I love.”

Or Mark Gonzalez, 27, a first-time delegate from Eagle Rock, who sat in the California section in a stylish bow tie. “When you come to something like this and you represent your community, your town and your state on a national level, it’s such a big deal,” he said. “I signed President Obama’s nomination papers this morning, and it was such a thrilling feeling.”

And there was 16-year-old Harrison Cameron, a volunteer whip from South Pasadena handing out signs in the convention hall, who found himself at the center of the Democratic universe for a week. His fascination with politics continues, despite his discovery that facts and arithmetic are not especially important in the debate. “Even if you know everything about one situation, everyone still thinks you’re wrong,” Cameron said.

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