‘I’m Tired and I’m Ready to Go Home’
NEW YORK (AP) _ For many delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the sentiment was clear: It was time to go home.
After a week of cruises and parties and shopping and dancing - all sandwiched around a national political convention - thoughts turned quickly Thursday to catching an airplane out of town.
The Iowa delegation was ready before the party was over.
″I’m tired and I’m glad the convention is coming to a conclusion, so I can get back to a more sane lifestyle,″ said Jim Carnahan of Des Moines, as he awaited Bill Clinton’s acceptance speech. ″This is a pretty crazy existence.″
″I’m tired and I’m ready to go home,″ said Dave O’Brien of Sioux City. ″If I go out at night, I don’t get up in the morning. If I have to get up in the morning, I don’t go out at night. Those days are gone.″
Bob Jordan of Council Bluffs found a video analogy.
″It’s like a made-for-TV movie,″ he said. ″There’s just enough substance for a 90-minute show, and they stretch it out for four days.″
Homeless veterans from Massachusetts who served in an honor guard at the Democratic National Convention say they’re disappointed with the treatment they received in New York.
The veterans led delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance to open the convention on Monday. But 40 minutes later, they said, they were escorted out of the convention by security guards, without being thanked or given a chance to talk to delegates about the plight of homeless veterans.
Tom Connolly, 45, a Marine who served in Vietnam, Bob Donahue, 48, a Coast Guard veteran, and Bill Doten, 24, an Army veteran said they got only a complimentary box lunch for traveling to the convention Monday.
They said they couldn’t afford a hotel and spent the night in a rooming house for veterans in Harlem, with their night interrupted by a bomb explosion and gunfire.
″It’s definitely typical of politics. To me, it’s just like when I went to the service in Vietnam and fought for my country. It was like I was used and abused,″ Connolly said Thursday after his return to Massachusetts.
The hands chosen to speak to America’s hearing impaired were nervously wringing a New York Post. Paula Gober, a Southern girl in the big city to sign Gov. Bill Clinton’s acceptance speech, was a bit scared.
″Now my hands are shaking,″ she said during an interview at Madison Square Garden before Clinton’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination.
The McGehee, Ark., resident has signed each of Clinton’s five inaugural addresses. She said the fast-speaking Clinton is easy to translate once you get the rhythm.
″He talks so quickly, but once you get his rate you can get the swing of it,″ she said.
Ms. Gober said Clinton never gives her a peek at his speeches beforehand ″so I’m never sure what to look for.″
She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and is a speech pathologist.
Despite the early case of nerves, Ms. Gober said, ″I wouldn’t pass this up for the world.″
The smiling girl from Columbus, Ohio, could have been the Democratic National Convention’s high school celebrity delegate. But Larke Paul missed by a day and learned a lot as a result.
She’ll turn 18 on Nov. 4, just one day too late to vote in this year’s elections and one day too late to qualify as a Jerry Brown delegate.
Instead, she came to Madison Square Garden as a page, running errands for the Ohio Democratic Party and for the Brown campaign.
It was an eye-opening experience.
″I’ve been answering phones in the Ohio office and all these people keep calling and asking for passes and asking for credentials and saying they should get things because they’re a friend of somebody and that somebody’s important,″ she said.
″It’s like, wow, this is not how it looks on TV and how they tell you in school.
″It’s kind of open-textbook,″ she said. ″The system runs in the traditional way. Everything depends on who you know and how much power you have.″
Perhaps the New Yorkers most happy to see the convention end were the hundreds of police officers who stood at foot posts all week.
For cops, extended foot posts mean excessive foot pain.
″I’ve got blisters on my feet, bandaged toes and sore arms from directing traffic - but I’ve still got a smile on my face. I enjoyed it, that’s what the smile is for,″ said Officer Terri Swetlik.
″My feet are hurting so bad,″ said Sgt. Bill Centonze. ″I’m ready to go back to my regular routine and work shorter hours.″
Also feeling worn down was Don Riley, who sold ″No one for President″ buttons during the convention.
″I’m physically drained, but it’s been a totally exciting week. I could actually stand for it going on for a couple more days,″ he said.