Tired of keeping up with the presidential campaign alone in my
apartment, I headed over to the Living Liberally NYC Convention Watch
Party at The Tank on Lafayette Street. Promoting “progressive action
through social interaction,” Living Liberally has dedicated the full
week to social events based around the Democratic National Convention
and another around the Republican.
“People just want to be around other people and see what everyone’s
reactions are. This is just like a giant pep rally,” said Katrina
Baker, the group’s director.
Serious effort was made to re-create the experience of sitting around
watching CNN with politically inclined, slightly intoxicated chums.
Both weeks end with acceptance-speech drinking games and are punctuated
with comical peanut-gallery commentary. For every smiley couple or
small group of people engaged in lively discourse, there were one or
two individuals obsessively watching the scrolling news crawl or
reading the newspaper. I couldn’t decide what camp I should belong to.
Meanwhile, when the Republican convention rolls around, Baker said that
it would most likely still be bleeding hearts populating her events. “I
think that liberals are attending either way, but it’s more amusing to
watch the Republicans because everyone talks over them. People have a
higher tolerance for everyone shouting out comments during the
Republican speeches.” Isn’t she shooting herself in the foot a bit, I
asked. After all, it it’s rumored that those buttoned-up GOP types are
wildcats when the lights go out.
“In 2004 we throw an event called ‘Sleeping with the Enemy,’ where we
invited the young Republicans to come. There was a lot of mixing,
alcohol tends to help that,” she said. “But I don’t believe that for a
minute. Though I converted a Republican myself, so the idea doesn’t
bother me too much.”