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UNITED STATES: Republican Convention--250,000 (?!) Balloons

WAISers have mixed feelings about the conventions. Hank Levin writes: "You are absolutely right, and the Democratic Convention is likely to be a close competitor as an empty, but tawdry, circus." Here is a preview.

Theologians used to argue as to the number of angels who could stand on the head of a pin, or so the legend says. Now the question is: How many can fit into Los Angeles? At a public warm up session, a young woman introducing Mayor Riordan said Los Angeles was the capital of the world. The mayor said it was the capital of the millennium, and that the people of the City of the Angels were the very, very best in the world. The followed a series of "best," including "the best cooking in the world." The mayor was sure the convention would be the best in the world. Los Angeles is certainly the hyperbole capital of the world.

Los Angeles has rivals: at a warm up session in Washington. Joseph Lieberman boosted the candidacy of Al Gore by praising the finest places in the world: Stamford, Connecticut and Carthage, Tennessee, where they hail from. I have heard of Los Angeles but not of its Tennessee counterpart. It exists, one of 13 (!) places named Carthage in the US. Why would city fathers name their town Carthage? Delenda est Cartago.

Meanwhile, the press published maps of Los Angeles' preparations for the convention. Concentric barriers had been set up with the convention hall at the center, and a small area off center for demonstrators. Presumably in fear that the protesters could not be contained, the city had removed all mailboxes in the area. The mayor may have won for the city the title of whistling-in-the-dark capital of the world.

The immediately preceding convention of the Reform Party in Long Beach was much less hysterical, indeed quite reasonable.

Ronald Hilton - 8/10/00