My Weekend at Politicon
By Jill Pyeatt
August 6, 2017
A convention for political junkies in my Pasadena neighborhood on July 29 and 30, 2017 was just too hard to resist. So, a few weeks before the event, I wrote for a Press Pass and was pleased to get one. This was a good thing because the event was fairly expensive, especially to attend both days. And now, I can’t wait to tell everyone what I learned at Politicon.
Well, I don’t think I learned much that was new, actually, except to put faces to some names that I’ve heard from media outlets I don’t pay much attention to. It did give me kind of an update of how people are really feeling, aside from the polls and what the television tells us. The event was more crowded than last year’s event (this was their third annual Politicon). There were many young people, which I found heartening. I was on a personal quest to try to understand the pulse of Democrats and of the Republicans. There were over 30 events to choose from on both days. They included talks by individuals, such as the hour I sat listening to Brad Sherman make his case for the impeachment of Trump. There were debates, such as Chelsea Handler debating Tomi Lahran, or Ben Shapiro versus Cenk Uygur. There were some comedy acts and some book signings (I made a point to miss Roger Stone’s book signing) . Most of the events I checked out were panels, usually about 5 people discussing their topic. One was called “WTF Hillary”, and another was called “What Now, “Republicans”.
There were a few others I attended, including one about a current favorite topic of mine, which is Fake News.
That last one was a complete waste of time. They all pretended that the only errors made by the mainstream media were probably just genuine errors. There was absolutely no mention of the alternative media, the existence of which is the whole reason the whole # Fake News narrative was started. Everyone on the panel were quite clueless, or at least did a good job of pretending to be.
Brad Sherman’s talk about impeachment of Trump was a bit frustrating. He is a local legislator for us in LA County (he’s a Democratic Congressman) and is not terribly popular with the people I hang out with. I was actually surprised at how well he spoke and he was actually quite pleasant, even funny sometimes. I was a little frustrated with the subject matter, though. He spoke for a whole hour, and it really came down to Sherman saying that Trump would have to do some really bad things for at least a year for anyone to pay much attention to his Articles of Impeachment. It made me think that a better time for the filing might have been right after one of those awful events, but the rest of the audience seemed supportive of it for now.
I must say that the panel for “WTF Hillary”, which was intended to dissect the reasons she lost, might as well have been talking to us from Mars. Eight months after Hillary’s loss, I expected to hear some introspection. Well, there didn’t seem to have been any lessons learned. I sat in a room with hundreds of people, and there was never a mention of emails or Wikileaks. There was only one small comment about Hillary’s lack of likeability. One of the panelists actually said that she thought every woman in the country would vote for her! (I considered that a very sexist statement.) According to everyone on the panel, Hillary lost because Trump is white, Misogyny, Russia. Yeah, okay.
The panel discussion called “What Now, Republicans?” was a little less unrealistic, I thought. There was a schism among the panelists as to some of the events being discussed in the news. For example, some guy named David Frum tried to tell everyone in the room that Trump needed to be investigated because he colluded with Russia and was roundly booed by both the rest of the panel and most of the audience, The general attitude of the panelists was that Trump was possibly a huge mistake, but how could the GOP move forward for the next few years? I don’t recall any of the panelists admitting to being a Trump supporter, at least not at this forum.
The room called “Democracy Village” had some vendors. There was a large MSNBC area where they handed out Morning Joes (coffee and iced coffee) and had a line for people to have their picture taken with their favorite newscaster. I didn’t see any of their newscasters there, but I might have just walked by the booth at the wrong time. The Libertarian booth was quite popular and usually had people lined up to take the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz”, I know my friend Boomer Shannon was interviewed a few times, and I was actually interviewed twice. ( If I see any of the interviews online, I’ll post them here.) The vice-chair of the Libertarian Party of Pasadena was there in costume along with one of our recent candidates, who was dressed as Lady Liberty. They were interviewed several times and had their pictures taken quite often.
The weekend was fun and interesting. I met some new people, and bumped into a couple I hadn’t seen for a while. The event was well-run, and I wasn’t aware of any issues that became a problem. I was very pleased that some food trucks were brought in, and I had one of the best burgers I’ve had for years. There is one glaring complaint from me, though, and that is that there were no third parties featured. Richard Winger and Christina Tobin both were there, but I wasn’t able to see either of them speak, and I haven’t found videos of their talks yet. Gary Johnson spoke last year, so I don’t think there is some policy they had not to mention alternative parties. I plan to write to the Politicon people and ask that they add some speakers besides the duopoly for next year.
I do think our Libertarian booth made the weekend worthwhile for Libertarians. We made sure that we had a presence and educated many people about what our Party stands for. I also networked with some of the other vendors and found some people I’ll stay in touch with and, hopefully recruited some people to learn more about what Libertarians can offer.
Jill Pyeatt is the Regional Chairperson for the Libertarian Party of Pasadena/Glendale and is an occasional writer and commenter at IPR.