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  • PIN THE TAIL/Daniel Rubin

    Observations from the 2004 Democratic National Convention

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Seeing things 

    Maybe it was chianti in the North End last night, but I'm starting to see things.

    Outside my hotel, the Omni Parker House, two groups of protesters line the sidewalk, barely distinguishable. There's the 20 or so well-dressed folks with Bush-Cheney `04 placards, chanting "Four More Years" and the "Billionaires for Bush," decked in top hats and party gowns, toasting profits and chanting "Four More Wars."

    You can tell the real Republicans because their suits fit better.

    Making the rounds between the groups is a man in a George Bush papier-mache mask and an Army green jumpsuit. He seems to be very friendly, as no one is rude to him.

    "Are you a reporter?" a woman asks, seeing my notebook. She's a formidable figure, Althea Garrison, an African American who grew up in Georgia and moved to Boston, representing in the state legislature the working-class neighborhood of Dorchester, where my dad had his hardware store.

    "This group good," she proclaimed, pointing to the Bush-Cheney section. "This group bad," she said of the Billionaires. "They are what we have the Patriot Act for."

    At this point I looked up to see her eyes dancing around and her smile spreading.

    She was playing with me.

    She also wore a Bush-Cheney sticker on the lapel of her pink jacket.

    The reason she is a Republican, she said, is she feels more comfortable with what they stand for. "I believe in traditional values, she said. "And I wouldn't trade that for anything. A lot of blacks do, too - they just don't say it."

    The rarest of creatures here ... a pink elephant.

    Daniel Rubin

    Daniel Rubin is a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached at


       •  July 2004

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