David Kravitz has no beef with the DNC. In fact, the rangy opera singer from Massachusetts was only in the officially designated protest zone (dubbed the “freedom cage” by protesters) on Tuesday afternoon to check it out and snap a few photos.
Luckily for him, like at the Tent State University site across town, there was plenty of space. In fact, the soccer-field-size, heavily fortified parking lot with barely a glimpse of the Pepsi Center in the distance was empty except for a fellow blogger from Kravitz’s bluemassgroup.com site and a local Denver college couple who were also hoping to see some real live protestation.
So Kravitz did what any opera singer worth his salt with an open stage and a public address system at his disposal would do — he belted out a powerful rendition of “God Bless America” as one of the shock-troop-looking cops took some personal video and gave him a round of applause. The dozen heavily fortified officers on the other side of the impenetrable fence near the cop joined in on the applause, happy to have any action in the zone, which they said has been a virtual ghost town since it opened two days earlier.
Though the Tent State University group had vowed to march across town and stick it to The Man by setting up their tent city in the zone every night of the convention, the cops said after the first night there hadn’t been a single sleepover. “About 30 of them came on Sunday, but the bright lights were on all night and they left,” said one officer. “Nobody’s really been back since.”
Not surprisingly, the protesters preferred to stage their actions on the streets of Denver, which had already led to two nights of pepper-ball-filled clashes with cops and more than 100 arrests.
The cops asked Kravitz for an encore, so he gave them “The Star-Spangled Banner” before hopping on his bike and speeding off, leaving the hum of a power generator as the only sound in the quiet zone.
A bulletin board meant to provide a schedule for the day’s roster of speakers had turned into a makeshift mock-morial, with inspiring quotes for a series of historical greats.
“You can’t cage freedom.” — G. Washington
“This is awesome.” — J. Stalin
“Say hello to my little cage.” — T. Montana