The Land of the Free


By Jeff Fecke • September 1, 2008 • Well, it’s been an interesting day here at the RNC. First, let me tell you, if you’re planning on coming down to St. Paul to stroll around and see the sights, good luck. As of right now, Kellogg is entirely shut down, as is much of Shepard. If you have surmised that you therefore cannot move from anywhere downtown to anywhere down West Seventh, you are correct — at least unless you want to walk up to Summit.

Meanwhile, it really is very much like Beijing right now. Riot police are everywhere, and where riot police aren’t, things are completely locked down. The idiot protesters have cause a bit of damage — Macy’s evidently got a window broken (way to smash capitalism, guys!) and a police car got a window broken (and was evidently quickly moved to a more visible location so everyone could get a good look at the work of those naughty, naughty kids).

And I’ve only run into one reporter and a group of friends who were tear-gassed with no warning for being near, but not a part of, a protest.

We’re way beyond overkill at this point. I love St. Paul. But this isn’t St. Paul right now. War zones are less restrictive and more free than this. It is, I suppose, a sign of the times. But it also is a hell of a way for us to pick the leadership of the freest country on Earth.