As I reflect on the Republican National Convention, I think of the wide range of experiences I was able to enjoy. I talked to people from all over the country (and world!), met political heroes, and saw amazing concerts. Even though we weren’t able to go into the convention, I saw so much more than I ever could have anticipated. The convention is full of energy and excitement. What we see on the TV screen isn’t even the half of it. During the day, streets and restaurants are bustling with delegates, lobbyists, senators, congressmen, and media stars. The politicians weave their way through crowded groups of protesters, holding signs and speaking out for causes. Roadside stands sell t-shirts endorsing Trump and decrying Hillary.tx rnc

Throughout the day, noteworthy people attend speaking engagements and lunches held by different groups. I, along with several other members of the group, were able to attend a few of these. Katherine and I went to a CPAC event featuring a panel of different policy advisors, senators, and organizations, which was great in and of itself. However, Secret Service arrived on the scene, and leaders said there would be a guest speaker. The crowd murmured with speculation until eventually the vice presidential candidate walked on the stage! Mike Pence brought the room to their feet as people voiced their enthusiasm. Pence’s speech at the RNC was the same one Katherine and I listed to. It was so cool to be able to hear a potential VP speak AND listen to the speech he gave to the RNC before he officially presented it.

Additionally, we also were able to see Scott Walker (I met him three times!) give his convention speech to the North Carolina delegation at a breakfast meeting before the RNC. At this same meeting, we met Senator Burr and Represenative Foxx!

At night, major venues around the city hosted concerts and fun events to celebrate the RNC!  The Politico Hub was a really cool space that had an oxygen bar and tons of cutting edge technology! The convention brings such important people together from all over the country and is really a celebration of the potential of the future of the United States.The RNC really tries to bring party unity in every facet of the week.

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I guess the point of this blog post is to let you know the conventions are more than what you see on TV.  People are mingling and networking. People are learning about platforms, organizations, policies, and beliefs during the day. People are protesting. Above all, people are engaging in politics. Even if you don’t align with any of these people it’s important to acknowledge that the conventions provide such a big outlet for American democracy. These people are taking time off work and spending money to learn about the political system and see it occur firsthand. Not everyone can go to the conventions, but anyone can get involved and I encourage each of you to do just that.

Go Deacs! Go Democracy!

Ciara Ciez

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