Charlotte: One Student’s View

Sanders McNair — a 2010 Staples graduate — is now a senior at Wake Forest University. He and 9 classmates spent the past few days at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Here is his report. I hope that if readers comment, they’re as objective — and civil — as Sanders is.

We did a ton of different activities. We spent some time at the sets of several MSNBC shows, chatting and taking pictures with Joe Scarborough, Chris Matthews and Melissa Harris-Perry (a Wake Forest alum).

Sanders McNair (far left) and fellow Wake Forest University students, with political commentator (and WFU alum) Melissa Harris-Perry.

We went to a forum for college students hosted by the Atlantic and National Journal featuring Chelsea Clinton, Kal Penn, Chuck Todd, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed and several others.

Though the venue change for President Obama’s acceptance speech meant we couldn’t see it in person, we did go to a large watch party next door.

Sanders saw San Antonio mayor (and keynote speaker) Julian Castro giving an impromptu interview.

Still, we saw many speeches in person that were not seen on TV by the rest of the country, including ones by Michelle Obama, Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, Lily Ledbetter, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and more.

Additionally we did interviews with reporters, wrote up stories for various blogs and left some time for the touristy things.

I’m extremely thankful I got the chance to go to the DNC. I was a bit skeptical that the convention would just be one big party (both senses of the word). There was plenty of that, but there was much more.

No, conventions don’t present new policy ideas or change minds with one speech. However, I really appreciated hearing the personal stories of so many regular people (an incredibly diverse group at the DNC, I might add) — those we were standing in hour-long lines with, and those who we sat next to during speeches.

Overall, I’m just glad I got to experience an event that allowed me to both see the glitzy, celebrity side of party conventions, and the side of the regular people who came to support their candidate.

11 responses to “Charlotte: One Student’s View

  1. Nice to read about young people at political conventions ( either one ). Hope this doesn’t bring out all the nay-sayers who are disturbed by your alleged “agenda”.

  2. Gerry Kuroghlian

    Sanders did a great job reporting on his convention experience. He was very involved at Staples and it is great to see this activity continue in college

  3. Whitney Janeway

    Dan, thanks for your call for civility in our responses…we need a LOT more of that. ” I hope that if readers comment, they’re as objective — and civil as…”
    All my friends seem to be wearing Demo or Repub colored glasses.

  4. tibbs……… serious …….. you people et a life!!!!!

  5. I have had a number of experiences working with students where they have been more civil and thoughtful than the adults where controversial issues have come up. And dan, it is your blog. If people don’t like your so-called agenda, why are they so avidly following it? Sarah