I didn’t watch a minute of Republican National Convention coverage, but I have been following news reports about what’s been happening outside the convention hall. I’ve also talked to friends who live and work in Cleveland area about how things were going.
I had read all the dire forecasts about chaos, and warring protests, and a replication of the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968. The pundits painted a pretty bleak picture of what they thought would happen on the shores of Lake Erie, and my concern was that poor old Cleveland was going to get a black eye on the national scene, having been unluckily saddled with the most contentious political convention in decades.
By all accounts, though, that didn’t happen. Sure, there were a few incidents here and there, and there was a heavy police presence that sought to fend off trouble before it began, but the drama (if you can call it that) was confined to the convention hall itself. One of my colleagues whose office looks out over Public Square happily reported that the protests that were staged were peaceful and respectful. The predictions about clashes and riots and police beating heads turned out to be nothing but hot air and, perhaps, wishful thinking by pundits hoping for the worst. I’m confident that, this morning, the Cleveland local government leaders and city fathers are breathing a sweet sigh of relief.
A report in the Washington Post captured the spirit of the city and the convention-goers and the people who came to protest — and for the most part the prevailing mood was to simply get along. That’s a pretty good way of describing what we’re like in the Midwest, generally. We’ve got people representing all points on the political spectrum, but somehow we manage to get along, drink a beer now and then, and come together to cheer for the local sports teams or stand up for our home towns. As the Post report indicates, maybe that generous, accepting, prevailing spirit had something to do with a riot-free convention.
So, here’s to Cleveland, for surviving the doom and gloom predictions and coming through without a scratch. With the Cavs championship and a successful hosting of the RNC, it’s a city on a winning streak.