The Occupy movement is camped in Marshall Park, which should be a walk of about three or four blocks from our perch in the bowels of the media area in the Charlotte Convention Center. In reality, you are forced by a series of fences, police barriers, and law enforcement checkpoints to walk eight blocks out of the way in a grand semicircle in order to reach the park. Once there, you find an encampment of several dozen tents, interspersed with small groups of people talking, making food, washing clothes, and talking to reporters. This, sad to say, is the heart of the protest movement at the DNC.
There are no marches of tens of thousands of dissenters. There are no fiery battles in the street. There are just these people, in a park, establishing by their presence that dissent does exist. They will be ignored by the convention delegates and used by the media primarily for one-off "color" articles like this one. They will not get what they want. But good for them for doing it.
"Captain" Kirk Root, pictured at top, is a 23 year-old from Florida, who says that he was fired from a gig with the local Obama reelection campaign after he was arrested during an Occupy protest in Orlando. In the months since, he's been more or less a full time Occupier up and down the east coast. He sat talking with a middle-aged man, and a woman who had come in a few days ago for the convention protests.
Kumar? "He's a sellout."
"Nah. He's a celebrity."
The election? "A choice between the bully and guy who will sell you out to the bully."
Across the street from the park, the county jail had been fenced in. For... security. Break out of jail? I don't THINK so.
Meanwhile, at the convention, everything continued as usual. It's a pretty long walk down to that protest site.