Dystopian future or downtown St. Paul?

By Ben Westhoff

Rest assured protesters aren’t getting anywhere near the convention. Giant gates cordon off downtown St. Paul from a half mile away or so in some places. Approaching from the west, no one without credentials can get much past the Cathedral of St. Paul. This morning, there were even a row of mostly unmarked police cars surrounding the perimeter. It’s fair to say some of St. Paul’s finest ride in a little more style than others.

While folks inside the air-conditioned, Wi-Fi accessible Xcel Center were taking off their Republican hats and putting on their American ones, outside giant trucks were blocking off bridges, riot guards were manning corners and stepping in horse poop, and the dirty, sweaty masses were screaming about tyranny. (Yes, it was almost exactly like Children of Men.)

Dystopian future or downtown St. Paul?
Dystopian future or downtown St. Paul?

But the buffer zone between the Xcel center and the protesters was perhaps the most surreal place. It’s hard to imagine part of downtown St. Paul being more deserted than usual, but inside the perimeter there was absolutely nothing, save for police and signs advertising Fox News. Is this how the world will end?

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