When I hit the Pepsi Center floor, former Virgnia governor Mark Warner was delivering the Democratic National Convention keynote address -- not that I or anyone else around me registered one word of it. There were far too many bodies in a too-small space, and the area around the perimeter of the throng soon became so clogged that moving either forward or backward was damn near impossible. It reminded me of some mosh pits I've been in -- except that if someone fell down in this case, he or she had a good chance of breaking a hip.
What made the experience even more exciting was the presence of a woman directly behind me who thought the way to get things moving was to hector everyone in front of her. At one point, she apologized for how loud she was being. The exchange went something like this:
Woman: (To the line as a whole) "YOU NEED TO KEEP MOVING!" (To me) "I'm sorry to be yelling in your ear. I know it's not your fault. It's the people ahead of us."
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Me: "That's all right. I feel your pain."
Woman: "YOU NEED TO KEEP MOVING!"
After making about twenty yards' worth of progress in the next ten minutes, I discovered one reason for our centipede-like pace -- and it involved our old friend Carl Cameron of Fox News. Cameron was in the mass of humanity ten feet or so ahead of me, but he had been stopped by an impassioned man who had gotten into his face and was telling him about where he could find the true information about Barack Obama's health-care plan, and that he should read it and tell the truth about it -- the implication being that he'd failed to do so to date. At least while I was watching, Cameron didn't reply. Instead, he simply stared impassively until the guy grew frustrated and stepped aside. That's when Cameron's critic offered us a benediction we desperately needed at that moment.
"Yes, we can," he said. "Yes, we can change this line." -- Michael Roberts