Throw Republicans a street party

There are so many things you want at this party that can be hard to obtain at the last minute.

Traditionally, after an American election, former political opponents reach out and bridge political divides for the greater good of the nation. In that spirit, knowing the Republicans will be having their national convention in the Twin Cities in

2008, I would like to propose throwing our depressed GOP friends a massive party in the streets to mark the occasion, kind of like the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle in 1999.

(Spoiler alert here: If you’re a Republican and planning to attend your 2008 convention, you will not want to ruin your surprise by reading this preliminary party planning discussion. Don’t you have stocks you want to check right this minute, in companies like Exxon and Halliburton?)

In regard to what happened in Seattle, I was there and that was a blowout event. You had people running around in sea turtle costumes, members of the Lesbian Avengers wearing little more than duct tape, lots of rubber bullets, tear gas and fairly decent music, heavy with drums and megaphones.

They say it isn’t a party until something gets broken, so this was a party that started early and ended late. There were even festive trash container bonfires.

A special event like that doesn’t just come together overnight and spontaneously. Sure, most people showed up at the last minute, but there were weeks and months of planning evident in, for example, an alternative newspaper that existed solely to report on the demonstrations and party favors like rain ponchos emblazoned with the words “PROTEST OF THE CENTURY.” Even if you have the money, you can’t order stuff like that on a day’s notice.

And, oh my word, there are so many things you want at this kind of party that can be hard to obtain at the last minute – like a sturdy and dependable gas mask.

In Seattle, there were situations where you had a thousand people wanting to march toward, for example, the convention center or Westin hotel and yet nobody had a street map or was quite sure of the best route once the rubber bullets were flying. Friends show up for the party days ahead of time and, all of a sudden, 20 people want to couch surf on the same couch. What are you going to do besides fetch and fluff more pillows?

Like a young woman planning for her high school prom while still a sophomore, we have two years to prepare for this special, once-in-a-lifetime event. Like most great parties, police and traffic control will be a logistical nightmare, so now is the time to figure out routes on foot from logical gathering points toward St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center and the luxury hotels where delegates will be, along with big, shiny, gas-guzzling limos and SUVs festooned with anti-tree bumper stickers.

More than one group will be involved in this party planning, so these diverse groups need to be talking with each other and coordinating, even if they don’t agree on every issue, or there will certainly be foul-ups and it will be anarchy.

By the way, who invites those loser anarchists to these swanky catered events? The anarchists always show up uninvited, all artsy, brooding and dressed in black. Well, maybe they can run to Starbucks and get everybody coffee.

OK, I’m kidding, I love the anarchists but if they’re going to show up, they could avoid hogging the television cameras with window-smashing antics. Really, you anarchist party animals, if you insist on edgy performance art, then make flyers explaining your actions to people who aren’t as hip as yourselves, or it just turns into “Oh, they hate McDonald’s. Nobody is quite sure why.”

However, I will concede that a party of this scale requires a certain optimum mixture of radicals and reformers, of quiet people who are good at making banners versus outrageous and fun-loving folks who will, for example, play “toss me back” with a tear-gas canister right in the middle of a mob trying to sing “Solidarity Forever.”

One special person can change the whole flavor of the event by, for example, caring enough to show up with resources like bail money and a lawyer, or dashing to a television station with compelling video of police brutality.

Together, by throwing a grand old going away party for our Republican friends, we can help bring this country together over some issues on which we can find common ground. I hope that we can all seek this common ground even if there are many obstacles to overcome so we can, um, physically get inside the Xcel Energy Center during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

We can all live in a bright future where everybody – Greens, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents – shares control of the government of this great nation.

John Hoff welcomes comments at [email protected]