Thursday, September 02, 2004

Farewell My Concubine: My final report from the RNC

According to Chinese legend, every season has a color attached to it. Here's a huge fashion tip (Paris Hilton, please take note!): If we wear clothes related to the color of the season that we are in, then we will always feel well-dressed. I can go into any store and, within minutes, pick out the most fabulous things to wear. Saks Fifth Avenue? Goodwill? No problemo.

Let's start with Indian Summer. Yellow, gold and brown. Even from the free box at People's Park, I can dress better than you. Tan work boots, orange kente cloth wrap-around and gold sequined tank top? Tyra Banks, eat your heart out.

In New York City this week, you could always tell a Republican watering hole by the number of black Lincoln Town Cars parked out in the front. Want to take a break from the Republican convention? Take the subway. You would NEVER find a Republican there. I LOVE the New York subways. They are clean and efficient people-movers with a five-star rating for soul. And the Staten Island ferry is free too.

The highlight of the Republican convention was a "Ring of Bells" on Saturday. Someone handed out 5,000 handbells and we made a ring around Ground Zero and we rang the bells. It was a very moving tribute to the victims of 9/11 -- much more appropriate than the post-9/11 Republican cuts to the city's budget. The sound of bells floating up to Heaven from all around the bleak Ground Zero scar was hopeful and inspiring. All the delegates trapped in Madison Square Garden missed that. But we were there.

This week, New York truly was a summer festival and I was so glad I had come. Frankly, I am going to have to thank the Republicans for choosing this great and courageous city; for giving it a chance to really shine. You got to love the Repubs for bringing us all here. Too bad they missed all the fun.

When I monitored the "March for our Lives" for the NY Civil Liberties Union, I was surprised by the composition of the group that stood in front of the UN. There were about a hundred cops there and they were all pissed off at Mayor Bloomberg for refusing to give them a raise. Over half the ones I talked to sided with the demonstrators. The demonstrators themselves, numbering about 500, wanted to peacefully express themselves. Yet the air was full of tension. Where was all this tension coming from? The reporters! There were about 75 of them, milling around, searching for a story, hoping to God that there would be a riot so they could film it.

Fall is coming. What will I wear? White and gray. What will the top Republicans be wearing in 2004? Black and white stripes.

The point I want to make is this: The 2004 election isn't about what Cheney and Miller said it was about. It isn't about which sitting president can bomb the most civilians, no no no. This election is about money, pure and simple. Who has it? Who doesn't? Sure we had fun sleeping on friends' floors and in flea-bag hotels. Sure the Repubs enjoyed shopping on Fifth Avenue and eating five-star. Which group enjoyed the RNC the most? It doesn't matter. What matters most is the Repubs' bottom line message: What's ours is ours and what's yours is ours. And we plan to keep it that way too."

So. What will I be wearing this winter? According to Chinese tradition, I'll be dressed in black and blue. And it doesn't matter to me where I get my clothes. I'm always in style.

But I'm rambling. I haven't slept in days. As the signs in New York say, "You can sleep when you get home."

The convention is almost over. I can prove it too. I took 60 pages of notes! But tonight the fat lady sings and then we can all go home. And vote.