I spent part of Tuesday walking the length of downtown and was left with a few impressions.
First, the large sand sculpture of President Obama outside the EpiCentre is both impressive and weirdly off. One guy stuck his finger in it and remarked, “Oh, that’s real sand.” Yes, buddy, just like the big sign said that you reached around to jab it.
Second, Charlotte will never again see this density of politicians and pundits. Within three blocks, I passed Mark Shields, Chris Matthews and Jeff Greenfield, as well as Senators Christopher Dodd and Dick Durbin.
Third, the souvenir vendors are outnumbered only by the demonstrators on College Street. In a span of 10 minutes, I was solicited by Human Right Campaign (LBGT), Planned Parenthood and anti-abortion activists who announced in a surprisingly upbeat tone that “We as a people are an abomination.” I saw only one group not directed at so-called social issues: FixtheDebt. I gladly accepted their rubber bracelet, but they had nowhere near the draw of the other demonstrators.
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My strongest impression: Where are you, Charlotte? Come brave the modest inconvenience and check out this fascinating scene. Whether you favor Maddow or Hannity, like or dislike the administration, you need to be here.