Kathleen Parker

I realize we're all supposed to be celebrating the glory of democracy at this point, but my inner adult can't stop rolling her eyes. Republicans in town to seal President George W. Bush's nomination seem similarly immune to the din of mass tantrums within the grave context of terrorism and a shaky future that likely involves nuclear suitcases. One can't help but wonder whether the liberal cause would have been better served by a few serious adults engaged in earnest conversation.

There is an ambient sense that the grown-ups will take care of business while the young 'uns, though many of them sport gray ponytails, vent steam. Somehow I don't think conservative libidos are at risk of seduction.

If Democrats want to elect Anybody But Bush, then Republicans, Undecideds and at least 15 percent of Democrats may tilt toward whomever these protesters don't want. If Democrats want to elect Anybody But Bush, then Republicans, Undecideds and at least 15 percent of Democrats may tilt toward whomever these protesters don't want. Their vote won't be so much For Bush or Against Kerry as it will be for Anybody But That Crowd.

Finally, Act III: A mini-drama outside The Plaza on Sunday offered in microcosm the week's larger narrative. Stretched across the Fifth Street entrance were a half-dozen police officers and wired security agents blocking access to all but guests. Off to one side of the carpeted steps, a lone protester hectored any Republicans within earshot.

"Harry" declined to give his last name because "they're so powerful and I'm so weak." He's John Q. Public, he said, and he selected The Plaza, landmark symbol of luxury, to make his stand against Bush. He ranted about greed and war and hypocrisy, demanding that Republicans declare themselves.

A few steps away, a cluster of new arrivals were chatting. In a telling instant, one of the men, well dressed in navy blazer and fedora, turned to see who was causing all the ruckus. Spotting Harry, now wiping away tears amid loud lament, he flicked his wrist as if to ward off an insect, and looked disinterestedly away.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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