Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hi from RNC Convention -Aug. 31, 2008 from Minneapolis!

Hello from Minneapolis and the Republican National Convention!

Pardon me and all the other delegation from the great State of Missouri as we gush over the warm and kind hospitality shown by the good people of Minnesota and especially by the twin cities of of Minneapolis and St. Paul as we arrived for the first event of the convention. Tonight we were treated to a Delegation Welcome Reception at the Minneapolis Convention Center. We were met by what seemed like legions of volunteers in yellow polo shirts who stuck out their hands and greeted us, smiled, and gave us needed directions. Across the street, we heard and saw some anti-war protestors who tried to be loud but really weren't. They were kept successfully away from us, but nevertheless I zoomed my camera lens in for a photo .

This is no small thing, this Minnesota hospitality. I do not know anyone who was not more than a little impressed with the amazing reception they gave. More about that in just a minute so bear with me while I digress.

Let us start at the beginning of the day so you won't miss a single thing.

We arrived at our host hotel located in some city north of Minneapolis and I am not sure many of us could say where. We drove and drove and more than one thanked their lucky stars and GPS that brought them surely and safely here. I had to look this up on the hotel letterhead in my room to see where we actually are, and apparently we are staying at a town named Brooklyn Park. All we know is that it is north, very far north of the city.

Our delegation has agreed that as far as accomodations are concerned, well we are just not going to talk much about ours. Instead, we are focusing on the fact that the RNC is giving the State of Missouri prime convention seating. We are one of 5 states that will have the honor of placing Senator McCain's name in nomination and Missouri is seated front row and center at the convention (stage right). We have no idea if hotel selection was a lottery system and we drew the shortest straw . Whatever the reason, we are not complaining and are delighted to have prime seating at the convention beginning tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, the session has been abbreviated due to the impending hurricane that is threatening the entire Gulf area. Our Missouri delegation meeting this afternoon began with a prayer for the residents of the states involved.

That was followed by a live video stream from Senator John McCain who expressed his opinion, and ours, that we are Americans first. This goes hand-in-hand with his philosophy of Country First. McCain said we are not Republicans first, we are Americans first and that is why we are all so willing to help our countrymen in any way we can. The RNC is providing emergency transportation at no charge for those who need to go back to Mississippi and other locations to check on relatives or property. All programs and speakers have been cancelled for Monday. The convention will convene officially at 2:30 PM on Monday so that official business can be handled. As all of us who work in local politics, know there are dates scheduled for these things that must be honored, especially if set by statute.

After McCain addressed us by video, we got to see a live streaming video of the McCain/Palin rally at O'Fallon, MO. There were 22,000 plus folks there to greet them! Missouri gave the McCain campaign a huge welcome! Kenny Hulshof (for Governor), Gov. Matt Blunt, and Senator Kit Bond spoke before McCain and Palin took the stage. The crowd was electric with excitement.

Yes, I did promise to tell you more about the reception tonight at the Convention Center, so back to that.

Food, food, food would describe it well. Delightful and delectable appetizers and entrees were served by chefs and their assistants. We could choose from about any food one could possibly think of including local specialties such as Walleye and Swedish pastries.

Some of the expo attractions included: walking through a replica of AIr Force One, a display of china from a variety of White House presidents, shadow box displays of various campaigns, displays about past presidents, a huge showing of American flag art, a replica of Ronald Reagan's presidential limosine, and my favorite--lifesize replicas of First Lady's wearing their best gowns.

And for those of us who came without proper Republican apparel or jewelry, we were given opportunities to remedy that problem. And almost everyone enjoyed shopping at the booths and vendors. Most of us will now be properly attired for the convention in our red, white, and blue shirts or jackets. Don't forget our hats! Watch for those, too, when you tune in to the convention.

We found our buses, carefully following our instructions, and eventually made our way back to the hotel. I shudder at the thought of folks being left behind because when the guides said the buses were leaving at 8:30 they meant business. When we got back to our rooms we had a gift box from the Missouri GOP with snacks and goodies galore. Then they treated us to more food and drink including cake with strawberry cream filling.

Oh my. Well I am too full and too tired like everyone else and we are calling it a day.

Check back here tomorrow night for more info about this exciting event.

Although subdued, it is still a necessary, worthwhile and important event for our party and our country.

Good night from Minneapolis, or more precisely, somewhere True North.