Joshua Turner, the chairman of the White County Republican Party, is a John McCain delegate to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
He filed the following report by e-mail on Monday:
Despite a somber beginning and heavy hearts for our friends and neighbors in the Gulf Coast, the first session of the 2008 Republican National Convention went off without a hitch.
Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee, convened the 2008 Republican National Convention at around 2:30 p.m. Monday.
The first topic of discussion was the people affected by Hurricane Gustav and the duty of Americans to look after our neighbors during hard times. Duncan challenged every delegate, alternate delegate, guest and TV viewer to pledge $5 to assist with humanitarian efforts in the affected areas.
By text messaging "GIVE" to 24357 via cell phone, individuals could pledge to help the residents of the Gulf Coast states.
At that moment, thousands immediately pulled their cell phones from their pockets to make a donation and do their part to help.
After taking care of the required party business to be in compliance with the rules of the party, the convention was addressed by first lady Laura Bush.
Bush spoke of the ongoing relief efforts in the Gulf Coast states and told the convention that, while she and President Bush had been scheduled to speak at the convention Monday night, people were more important than politics and that the president’s first priority was caring for the people of the Gulf Coast states.
After viewing a video from various governors, the first lady introduced Cindy McCain, who also spoke of the importance of putting people above politics.
Though the comments and first session of the convention were short, it was just what delegates needed on this day as we are praying for and thinking of those affected by the hurricane.
Even though the Republicans have delayed their celebrations out of respect and concern for our fellow countrymen, the protesters have shown no sign of holding back.
As delegates were taken to the Xcel Energy Center, the convention venue in St. Paul, protesters lined the streets behind barricades set up by the Secret Service to contain the rowdy crowds.
Local media outlets are reporting that more than 100 protesters already have been arrested on the first day of the convention.