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A DNC Experience: Americans at their best

Joseph Phillips
Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, NC, answers questions relating to equality and economics in 21st century cities.

Joseph Phillips and Jamont Henderson, Senior Photographer Editor and Senior Editor

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When the DNC came to Charlotte this week, our uptown streets were covered with many advocates and protestors from all around the world who came to express their opinion on America’s economy and the upcoming election. The opportunity to attend this grandiose event is something that happens once in a lifetime, and as a member of the Mayor’s Youth Press Corps, I had the privilege to spend a few hours on Wednesday soaking it all in.

When I go uptown, I don’t expect to see people selling memorbilia, pressing their beliefs on the crowds, and making judgements about their predictions for America in the future.  This trip was not like any other because that is exactly what I saw.

The DNC attracted people from all different walks of life, countries, and cultures. While walking uptown, you could see businessmen, concerned citizens/voters, ministers, protestors, even homeless men and women. Their views about the election and about America in general varied. Pro-Obama and Anti-Obama citizens voiced their opinions throughout the day. Some were very calm about their approach, while others were very outspoken about their beliefs and would shout out to passers-by to get their point across.

Out of all the other speakers on the street, I remember the man who spoke against abortion in America the most. Standing outside of the EpiCentre, a popular spot where MSNBC set up shop for the week, he told others his views and opinions about abortion and why it should be illegal. He used the Bible and God to tell others at the convention that abortion is wrong. The way he expressed his opinion was harsh, even violent due to the very graphic picture he was holding of an aborted 10-week-old baby fetus.

Almost every place you walked, peddlers were selling Obama and other democratic merchandise. From buttons, stickers, signs, t-shirts, and even Obama puppets, these people used the opportunity to “make a buck.” People were selling t-shirts with slogans such as “Alobama” and “Obama has swag.” These t-shirts were creatively made and caught oncoming walker’s attention as they passed.

The last stop was to Marshall Park where the protesters, mostly Occupy Charlotte participants, camped out. Even though we didn’t get to see any protestors march, we got to see where they camped and what they did when they weren’t protesting. Many of the protesters looked homeless but, when we began talking to them, they showed us that they lived fairly normal lives.

We talked to some of the people who were curious about why we were taking pictures. One confused man wanted to know if we could get a photo removed from the Charlotte Observer that he had seen of himself in that morning’s paper. Another man, an agnostic who expressed his belief that life should be lived based on love, spoke with Senior Eli Bright and our Adviser Brandy Caton with an open mind about Christ.

My time at the DNC showed me that American citizens want to have their opinion heard. In my opinion, I believe that people are entitled to their own views on certain subjects in America. Without Americans using their First Amendment rights to show how they feel, citizens would have no say in what goes on in the government.

I think it’s a good thing that people are willing express their opinions, camp and protest rather than just sit back and watch their nation slowly “crumble”  because it shows that our citizens care about the well-being of their country.



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A DNC Experience: Americans at their best