Jerame Davis

The Night of My Life

Filed By Jerame Davis | August 27, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Politics
Tags: DNCC, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC, Rock to Win

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I've been a die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter since day one. This was supposed to be her year and I believed. So last night was very emotional for me, but the story of how I got to the floor for her speech is nearly as good as her speech.

clintonstairs2.jpgI scored a floor credential from Marti Abernathey. She is an Obama delegate and was not interested in seeing the speech. She knew I was and in the interest of unity and friendship, she gave me her credential for the night - but that left a good friend who is also a Hillary supporter (whom I won't name, but most Indiana folks will know) without a floor pass.

I was determined to get her onto the floor and the comedy of errors that ensued almost cost me seeing the speech. We tried to find our friend a floor pass, but it just wasn't panning out. So, my friend and real Indiana Clinton delegate Lori, and I cooked up a scheme to take Lori to the floor and then I would take Lori's pass back out to our friend and bring her back with me. It was a great plan, but the execution was less than flawless.

Lori and I made it to the floor easily, scored 3 seats in the Indiana delegation area, and all was going great. (We even met Donna Brazille on our way through.) We swapped credentials and I headed back out to fetch our friend. Due to security closings, I had to take the long way around to meet back up with her, so it took me longer than I expected.

lauraflanders.jpgOn our way back around, we ran into the Delegates for Peace and stopped to speak with them and take their materials. Laura Flanders was there taking pictures and I recognized her immediately. We'd never met, but the consulting company Bil and I own, Bilerico Media, contracted with Laura to do her business card design and printing. It was really cool meeting Laura in person.

When we returned to our entrance, it had been closed - Hillary Clinton was entering the arena from that direction. We turned around and headed back to the entrance near the CNN area, which is all the way across the arena from the Indiana delegation.

Just as we got to the rope line, they closed the floor. We were, literally, the first people they stopped from entering. I was incensed. At first, we couldn't get a clear answer as to what was going on. They told us that "leadership" was on the floor and therefore Secret Service had closed it temporarily. We knew this was BS because leadership is ALWAYS on the damned floor.

In actuality, it was the Fire Marshall who had shut down the entire arena due to overcrowding. There was unbelievable interest in Clinton's speech.

So we stood at the front of the line as more and more people gathered trying to get in. Some were successful claiming they had interviews with CNN, or that they were with so-and-so's staff. It really started pissing people off.

Some jerks started heckling the guards and Secret Service (not the best of ideas) and at one point the action hit a fever-pitch that nearly erupted into a riot. About 15 people rushed the line and broke through and made it onto the floor. Some of them were caught by Secret Service, but others made it. Suddenly there were a LOT more Secret Service and police.

We watched as speech after speech went by and the clock ticked closer and closer to 8:30, which was Hillary's scheduled speaking time. We were told that it may be possible to get in on the higher floors, but we weren't going to give up our chance to be on the floor until there was no hope.

Just 5 minutes before Chelsea walked on stage to introduce her mother, they announced that voting delegates would be allowed through. Well, it just so happens we both had delegate passes and we made it in.

But our troubles didn't end. We were, of course, half-way across the arena from where we needed to be, so we started heading toward the Indiana sign. It was standing room only on the floor and the aisles were so full that passage was impossible.

Then the Fire Marshall came through. When we saw him, we asked if we could tag along behind him and he said sure. People were moving for him, so we made it part-way around.

We got stuck behind the New York delegation, who had to be the rudest goddamned people on the planet.

One asshole kept kicking me in the back of my knees and nearly caused me to fall. My friend is very short, so she was stuck between a bunch of tall people and had to watch the first part of the speech on a monitor opposite the stage.

When no one would move to let the Fire Marshall continue through, he ordered the Secret Service to clear the aisles - so we got ran out off the floor in the chaos.

indiana-delegation.jpgWe hustled up the stairs and out into the concourse and started walking closer to the Indiana delegation. When we got to the entrance, the nice ladies manning that entrance let us back in and we were able to join the Indiana delegation for the last part of the speech.

Hillary was amazing, gracious and electric. She hit every note and said all the right things. It was likely the best speech she's ever delivered. I wept and so did most everyone around us.

I came here to see that speech from the floor and I did. I was even able to sneak in a friend, who probably deserved to be there more than half the people there.

It was impossible to Twitter from the backstage area where we were stuck for 45 minutes waiting to get back in. The reception was terrible, my battery nearly drained and the crowd wasn't cooperating, so I apologize for the abrupt end to updates last night.

By the time I got out, my phone battery was at 10% and I still had to track down Bil. He went to the HRC Rock to Win event, which he'll cover in-depth, but I was able to make it to the venue for part of the show.

You see, I was really torn last night. I love Cyndi Lauper. Since I was a child, I've wanted to see her on stage, but the HRC event was at the same time as the Clinton speech. I'm sorry Cyndi, but I went through way too much to get here to miss Hillary's speech, so I chose the convention.

Here's what is truly amazing - I made it just as she started her set. I joined Bil in the VIP seating courtesy of Joe Solmonese and his partner Jed Hastings (a truly extraordinary guy, I might add.) I watched her entire set from the HRC box seats and it was just overwhelming for me.

You see, I ran (seriously) the nearly 3 miles to the venue (though I did stop along the way and buy a Hillary t-shirt.) Running in the Mile-High City when you're asthmatic and out of shape isn't a good idea, but I made it.

What a night. I got to see two special women in my life give two amazing performances (one political, one musical) and I couldn't have been happier. I will remember this night for the rest of my life. It was, truly, the night of my life.

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If you don't realize the unity of this party after seeing this convention, you're either blind or a fool. That's not meant to offend - it's just a fact. The energy in that convention has been beyond palpable.

Look at the roll call today. Hillary Clinton won Indiana, but she only got 6 votes in the roll call. Out of all of the states in the roll, she never got more than 10 votes I heard (though I don't know all the tallies and could be mistaken.) She won 23 states and some of those states cast ALL of their votes for Barack Obama.

We are one party and we are going to elect Barack Obama the next president. The Clintons delivered and so have their supporters. It's now in the hands of our unified party to win and win big.

As for HRC, I don't even know if it's worth engaging you on that. Accepting their hospitality is not the same thing as supporting them. I have donated $25 to HRC in my entire life - and that was more years ago than I can remember.

I don't agree with HRC's stance on ENDA, but I also don't agree with your stance that HRC are "the betrayers". They made some serious mistakes with ENDA and I will never support an ENDA without trans-inclusion, but there aren't too many organizations I wouldn't accept free tickets from to see Cyndi Lauper.

Besides, I was a personal guest of Joe and Jed, not a guest of HRC. Friendship and personal relationships go far beyond politics and community squabbling.

Jerame -

Be glad that you did get to see the speech in person. The experience seeing it on TV is just not the same. The greatest lesson you can ever get in communications theory is watching the video of an event after you've seen it in person.

When I got home from the 1984 convention, I watched some of the speeches on videotape. I wasn't looking for the embodiement of "TV is a cool medium" lesson. The speeches were really great, and I just wanted to see them again.

I was stunned to discover how much of the experience wasn't transfered. Of course it showed just what happened... to a point. But everything was flattened. That is to say, there was like a proverbial dampening field.

For example, Jesse Jackson's speech was *the* *greatest* political speech I've ever heard (and I've heard A LOT of them). People at the convention were whooping and screaming and *literally* standing on their chairs. Women had tears *streaming* down their faces. Not tearing up, mind you. Streaming. *I* was standing on my chair, and I wasn't a Jackson delegate. And I'm not really a standing-on-your-chair-type. (Of course I was a good deal younger)

In any case, NONE of that passion came across. You heard the words, and the noise, and the excitement. But there was simply no - well, "there" there. After seeing it on TV, I thought to myself, "was that it?".

That's why until you see the difference for yourself, you wouldn't have known what you missed.

BTW, I thought it was abundantly clear how successful and sincere Hillary's speech was. But depending on which network you watched it on, the analysts had vastly differing assessments.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann declared it a grand slam. However, all of the Fox talking heads gave it a huge thumbs down. I was utterly stunned. Yeah, I know it was Fox. But even if you disagree with the content, there is an art and science of persuassion that can be appreciated in of itself. Apparently not those guys. That was discouraging.

"luxury perks and privleges."
"a private gathering for the nation's wealthiest."
"democratic elite at luxury skyboxes."

and something about "an elaborate vip program rewarding their fat cats." (y'all aren't OVERWEIGHT by any chance, are ya?)

and, finally, Obama knows "government must be about 'we the people' not the favored few."

have fun, y'all!! can't wait to hear yer next report from . . .

how about: "it sounds way to cushy for me." would you accept that? or would it be too much for you to allow a little rain on "the night of your life" to hear another perspective, one that comes from a real person who is neither caught up in nor contributing to idealizing a political campaign and all its trimmings.

your post is beginning to sound very much along the lines of what was uncovered in this news cast, much to the chagrin of the . . .
Money Trail: The Democratic Elite

How about your comments sound jaded, bitter and jealous of the fact that a guy who grew up on welfare, who's never made more than $25,000 a year, and who's worked hard to get where he is today got access to something special.

I don't support HRC financially, but I do support many of their goals. Joe Solmonese is NOT HRC and he can have friends outside of his job. He has a board he answers to and they dictate to him what his position will be when it comes to HRC. You have no idea how he feels personally - I do - and I will not compromise a friendship over a disagreement on strategy.

If I'm "elite" then the "elite" is a pathetic bunch.

It was an emotional night and a very personal experience for me. Thank you for pissing all over my post and being nasty. YOUR true colors are apparent.

What your response reveals is exactly what I feared most, and you are only one example of the many hundreds of thousands who have fallen prey to this phenomenon: the bottom of the economic scale reveling in their adulation of those at the highest echelons of social class and financial privilege. And, hey, is an examination of your power relationships really so threatening that you must resort to name calling?

Your incredible night of entertainment has more of the flavor of vicarious enjoyment than you seem to want to admit – unless you really sampled those “fat cat” dishes reserved for the rich in the VIP tier to which you received a coveted invitation. The convention itself and the cheap thrills that you enjoyed and described so well smack of watching a reality TV show, except the powerful forces that remain hidden behind the scenes enacted here are really real, and really scary.

As the newscast my previous post links to clearly discloses, a delegate is resigned to eating a hot dog while a few wealthy contributors leisurely enjoy their insiders’ private party, and the cigar-smoking sergeant chokes the throat of a reporter, then cuffs and arrests him for trying to tell this story.

Shall we lend our democratic support, howsoever hurriedly and on the run, to these surreptitious political processes that exclude the majority? I identify with the outsider reporter who is undeservedly bullied by the little boys in blue. And, not to leave any doubt, this little birdie smells the noxious fumes of yet another highly toxic political alliance about to be perpetrated on the American public.

Go ahead, joyfully sing along (though someone definitely sounds a little hung over) with a party that I neither belong to nor ever wish to attend. Yes, in the most general terms that we have so quickly come to accept, it’s time for you and your friends to celebrate the foretold victory that lies just ahead, a little further and deeper down the all-inclusive, brightly shinning primrose path . . .


Don't let the naysayers get you down. I loved your post. I am very happy for you and for Bil. I wish my partner shared the love of politics and the process that I have long known and that you and Bil are experiencing. Hillary, Bill and Joe each in their own style, hit home runs. The party is united now and tonight will be the icing on a very beautiful cake. Enjoy!