Hope Is The New Rebellion Protesters outside the Democratic National Convention are using Obama's message of hope as a way to frame their demonstrations, observes Youth Radio's Martin Macias. That solution-oriented framing is a departure from the "lesser of two evils" rhetoric that dominated protests four years ago.
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Hope Is The New Rebellion

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Hope Is The New Rebellion

Hope Is The New Rebellion

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ALEX CHADWICK, host: Back now with Day to Day. You've been listening this week, so you know not everyone in Denver is completely on with Senator Obama. But young protesters outside the con hall aren't so much chanting in frustration as they did somewhat four years ago.


This time young organizers and activists are trying to craft critical messages using Obama's rhetoric. Youth Radio's Martin Macias reports from the streets of Denver for this week's What's the New What.

MARTIN MACIAS: What's the new what? Here at the Democratic National Convention, I've observed that Hope is the New Rebellion. Meaning protesters outside the convention are using Barack Obama's message of hope as a way to frame their demonstrations against Democratic Party politics as usual.

Ms. JEAN STEVENS (Code Pink): What we're trying to do is be positive, be hopefully, you know, let Obama supporters know that we're here to keep ending the war on the forefront of their minds.

MACIAS: That's 24-year old Jean Stevens with the female-led peace group Code Pink. Instead of their usual stop-the-war slogans, Code Pink's main chant today is Get Her Done. They're urging Senator Obama and other leaders to find quick and peaceful solutions in the Middle East. That sort of solution-oriented framing is a departure from the lesser of two evils rhetoric that dominated DNC protests like this one four years ago.


CHORUS: Shut it down!

Unidentified Man: The Democrats are no different when it comes to oppressed people. Bush and Kerry are the same, they are figure.

MACIAS: It appears the (unintelligible) aren't alone in embracing upbeat messaging. Other demonstrators carry colorful puppets and costumes at a march called the procession for the future. 23-year-old Christie Horner from Washington State is setting up a statue of liberty (unintelligible) an American icon, she says she wants to reclaim in the name of peace.

Ms. STEVENS: I'm not protesting the DNC. I mean we need change, you know, we can do things non-violently and make a statement. There is no need to be yelling or condemning people.

MACIAS: But Jean Stevens of Code Pink says despite the softer approach of this year's DNC protesters, they're still being criticized by party die-hards.

Ms. STEVENS: People are saying you're preaching to the choir, why are you bringing, you know, negative energy? Why are you here? Obama's on your side, the Democratic Party is on your side?

MACIAS: Stevens says there's a debate among activists groups here about what it even means to protest this week when so many young people are driving Barack Obama's campaign for hope and change. OK, if you're thinking there's no way the protests in Denver are a complete hippie hope-fest, you're right. There are those protesters who are openly disappointed with Obama. Here's 23-year old Emily Eisley(ph).

Ms. EMILY EISLEY (DNC Protester): Such a bummer, like this whole area is so Obama-tized. We're from Detroit, and people are selling these t-shirts and pictures of Obama. A little picture of Malcolm X in the corner, and it's such a projection on what people want and what they're not getting - something more radical.

MACIAS: Eisley has a poster that says Obama - different face, same system, no change. But even she's taking the opportunity to reach across the aisle to Obama supporters of every variety.

Ms. EISLEY: I think we do need to use this moment strategically and say you're progressive, we're progressive, we need to unite for real change - and it comes from below.

CHORUS: I miss America, my home, sweet...

MACIAS: So it seems like hope is the new rebellion, at least this week, anyway. They could be singing a very different tune next week, at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

CHORUS: My long lost home.

CHADWICK: That was Youth Radio's Martin Macias reporting from the Democratic National Convention. What's the New What is youth radio's and Day to Day's weekly series that's following cultural and social and political trends in young America.

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