I just thought I'd put down a few of my impressions. Just a bit of another perspective to add to your view.
Getting to the Ritz Carlton for my volunteer assignment I rode past the Anti-War rally, the Green Festival and the Anti-Abortion Protest.
I couldn't see much of the Anti-War Rally as they were quite a distance away and did seem peaceful and quiet. From that distance I just saw people walking in a large group - heading back to the capital from the Pepsi Center at that point I do believe.
The Green Festival looked lively with numerous booths and the big turbine propellor drawing my eye to be sure. Our "Dancing Aliens" stood out in the middle of it all and made it seem a true look to the future.
My eye always goes to my favorite Blue Bear when coming out of the tunnel of the Convention Center but then went to the people lining 15th street with their large posters of fetuses in various forms.. It is never a comfortable thing for me as my experience of having a number of spontaneous miscarriages gives me a pang of loss (I get the feeling that they don't care about those effects on others). I will admit that I don't care for the way they present their message and they seemed to be yelling at passersby.
I took the Light Rail to the 16th Street Mall and walked to Curtis and 18th. The mood on the 16th street mall was electric. I did walk and overhear several 'locals' who seemed a bit perplexed by the DNC hoopla and not certain whaqt it was all about.
The Ritz Carlton does bring the term 'ritzy' to mind. It is all understated elegance with so many doormen falling all over themselves to open the door for me that I was almost feeling accosted. Reading several articles here later made me understand that these elegantly clad folks may be as much about security as courteous welcoming.
My job was to answer simple questions anyone might have who is here for the convention. I do believe that there are people of note staying there but I did not have any interaction with them. Most questions seemed to be around transportation, we often referred them to the doormen. It did emphasize to me the lack of public transportation (and even private cabs) here in Denver. There was a concert at Red Rocks, one difficult venue to get to for sure. The DNC does have a good number of buses going places and such - and are doing their best but it does require some deal of willingness to be a part of the crowd - not something the folks staying at the Ritz-Carlton are prone to I think.
All-in-all being downtown made me want to be a part of it even more and to take in the atmosphere and the excitement. I was extremely jealous of the delegates. I'm glad that I am volunteering, even in this small way and feel those who do not at least go downtown and wander around are left at the mercy of the media and the impression they present.
As I watch TV it is more and more depressing to be bombarded with their views and opinions. I know that I am an idealist and optimist....and the negativity of the pundits is a downer....boohaaa.
It is so easy to be an arm chair observer of events in this world. And security and transportation and time constraints keep us away to be sure. But, wow, the effort was well worth it and maybe a bit of a lesson to get out and get involved - and see things for myself when possible.