By Chris Ingram
Tampa locals have been watching the build-up to the Republican National Convention for nearly two years. Now with the start of the big affair just days away, RNC visitors and locals are wondering what to do, and how they can view and participate in the convention activities. (Hint: The best view is on TV).
Here are my suggestions for locals interested in the convention:
1) If you don’t already have credentials to get into the convention, there is no point going down to the Forum as you won’t get inside.
2) If you just have to come down and see what all the excitement is about, be careful. I’ve been to conventions before and some of these protestors are total losers just looking to do harm. Stay out of their way and don’t engage them (they want you to engage them – better off to just ignore them). Resist the urge to tell them to “get a job” — for some, this is their job. That said, not all of the protestors are looking to do harm. In fact, most are not; they’re just exercising their right to free speech, and that’s a good thing.
3) If you come downtown, be respectful of law enforcement, and follow their directions. They’ve got a tough job; don’t make it harder for them.
4) Be prepared to walk a lot as there isn’t much parking to be had during the RNC.
5) Stay hydrated. As locals know, it’s hot in August and you need to drink a lot of H2O.
6) Be aware of the long list of prohibited items in the city’s security zone (which is greater than the zone around the convention center controlled by the Secret Service). Depending on where you are, banned items may include: backpacks, coolers, umbrellas, rope or string longer than six inches, tape, gas masks, sticks, ladders, toy guns, super soakers, and real guns (inside the area controlled by the Secret Service), as well as any container containing urine or fecal matter (duh!).
Finally, I encourage you to support local businesses as you would if the convention were not here. From dry-cleaners to retail shops and restaurants, most local “mom and pop” places will not benefit financially from the RNC being here. In fact, the opposite may be true. Most businesses in town will remain open for business. So go patronize them as you normally would, or maybe a little more.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.