On the Sunday before the beginning of the Republican Convention, Cleveland is buzzing. Republicans and Politicos of all persuasions have traveled to The Land to witness a once in a lifetime event. As I was waiting to get through security to enter Chairman’s Welcome party, I stood in line with hundreds of other people, each of them with their own passions, stories, and reasons to be in Cleveland.

There was a woman from Arizona. Since the beginning of Trump’s campaign she traveled around the country, sleeping in a tent. Her goal was to get as many people to vote for Trump as possible. Armed with her pepper spray and bear spray, she braved many hard nights to fight for her cause. Now, she will be sitting inside the Quicken Loans Arena when Donald Trump recieves the nomination.

There was a man from Minnesota. He served in Iraq and now serves his country in a different way as a delegate. He is pledged to Marco Rubio, the winner of Minnesota Caucus and wishes that the Republican primary turned out differently. He signed a petition to have a roll call vote on the rules at the convention. Not as a last ditch effort to stop Trump, but just to make sure the process is fair.

There were protesters from Code Pink. They were dressed up as pink statues of liberty, holding signs that said “Immigrants Welcome” and “Peace on Earth.” Delegates stood and took pictures with the protestors, agreeing with their signs and having a productive dialogue to find common ground.

There were hundreds of police officers, ranging from the Cleveland police to Special agents. When they walked past , the officers received a resouding round of applause from the entire line. This applause appreciated the officers’ sacrifice, and recognized the importance of their role in the convention. The officers were friendly, helping us through security, giving people directions, and serving as models for their community.

There was hope. Hope for voters to take ownership of their elections. Hope for traditionally opposing groups to get along. Hope for a relationship with police that makes a city stronger. Hope for a convention that will bring people together instead of tearing them apart.

-Ryan Wolfe

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