I slept the majority of the way to Philly. Getting up at 6:30am and heading out the door by 7:00 may have had something to do with that. Nevertheless, the five-hour drive flew by for me, and before I knew it, we had arrived at our host family's home to settle in.
Realization #1: The Stoyell-Mulhollands are actual angels.
After settling in and snacking for a bit, we ventured to FDR Park to scope out the protesters. We were prepped with pro-life shirts, handmade signs, and "Why should liberals embrace the consistent life ethic?" pamphlets aplenty.
Realization #2: Amongst the Bernie protesters, our multicolored girl gang doesn't stand out.
We were approached pretty often during our shenanigans outside the RNC, and that's most likely because we stood out like a pink-and-teal thumb. Our neon manes, tattoos, and piercings definitely piqued the curiosity of the RNC-goers. However, we found ourselves having to take initiative and approach people more often while navigating through the more colorful crowd outside the DNC. That's not to say anything about diversity; I think both crowds had a pretty good mix of ages, ethnicities, and genders. There was just a difference in style, I suppose. Despite all our pro-life paraphernalia, we didn't stand out much among the Bernie fans (and it was 95% Bernie fans out there). Maybe it was a difference in venue, but the space outside the RNC felt like a convention, whereas the space outside the DNC felt like Woodstock.
Realization #3: Socialists like giving away free things.
I don't believe I'll ever agree with socialism (conservatarian here), but I've got to hand it to the democratic socialists outside the DNC: at least they walk the walk while talking the talk. I lost count of how many people were handing out free water bottles. One man offered advice for how to know we were in need of electrolytes. There was even free, fresh produce given out at the campsite next to the park!
But that's enough about the setting. As far as conversations go, the Bernie fans we spoke to were pretty open to hearing what we had to say. I think most hadn't ever considered abortion as a human rights violation, and so taking that approach worked well to convince them. We also ran into a lot of what Rosemary called "the best kind of moral relativism" — these people disagreed with us, but appreciated us standing up for what we believe in. It was a very "live and let live, agree to disagree" kind of attitude. While it was nice that they weren't angry with us, part of me wished they were willing to delve more deeply into our areas of disagreement in order to find the truth.
Realization #4: Hillary supporters outside the DNC were few and far between.
I was truly astounded to find a total of two Hillary supporters outside the DNC on Monday. I guess I underestimated the Bernie fans' loyalty to his cause, but the loudest chant we heard that day was "Hell no, DNC, we won't vote for Hillary." Ironic, considering the theme for the day was "United Together." I guess the protesters outside the DNC were united, but they were united in their absolute opposition to Hillary Clinton.
After wandering through the crowd for a couple hours, we made our way to a Jill Stein rally that was going on at the far end of the park. Some of the people there were die-hard Green Party fans, but from my observations, most were Feeling the Bern™ after Bernie's backing of Hillary and preferred Jill to Hill.
Unfortunately, we ended up leaving the Jill Stein rally early due to a thunderstorm. We attempted to get to the metro before it started raining, but we got drenched anyways. Who wants to bet there was some sort of weather-control machine at DNC HQ?
Realization #5: There is truly no end to the DNC's nefariousness. (JK) (But only a little bit)