After last year’s Occupy Movement protests, I thought this year’s Republican and Democratic national political conventions would be abuzz with scads of unbathed malcontents complaining about something or other. My reasoning went something like this: “I can’t remember the country being this down, this divided. Surely this was going to be the most fiery political convention since the Democrats visited Chicago in 1968.”
Boy, was I wrong.
I missed out, photographically speaking, on all of last year’s Occupy protests and, frankly, hadn’t regretted it all that much. But when I heard that the Democrats would be meeting in Charlotte about the time I’d be in Tennessee visiting my in-laws, I was tempted to dive into the chaos with my camera.
There were few protesters at the Republican convention and you might think that was my first clue that events might be quiet this year. “It was the hurricane,” I reasoned, “It kept the protesters away.”
As soon as I got to Charlotte I headed for the park where the protesters had set up their camp. I wanted to see them for myself. I imagined people everywhere, like a mini-Woodstock, a massive tent city. It turned out to be more of a sleepy tent village. The park was dotted with a few beat up tents, a smattering of hand-painted signs and some blurry-eyed campers stumbling around after waking up at 1 pm in the afternoon. “These are not the people who are going to change the world," I thought to myself.
I got a few nice photos but not what I expected. Long story short, it was not that interesting. But 2016 is really shaping up to be something special. Just wait.