My Only Democratic Convention

Watching the Democratic Convention on television last night, I was reminded of the one I attended with my father in Chicago in 1968.

In those days, my father, Stewart Alsop, was a journalist writing the back page of Newsweek Magazine and I was a college student, opposed to the Vietnam war.

Here’s a piece of my new memoir, DON’T KNOCK UNLESS YOU’RE BLEEDING, Growing up in Cold War Washington about our trip to that convention.


“During college, I returned to Washington to protest the Vietnam War with a number of raffishly earnest friends. In contrast to Uncle Joe, who always supported the war and thundered at us that we hadn’t seen the “secret documents,” Daddy interviewed us from his customary living-room chair, treating us as worthwhile sources for a column on the protests and the effect they might have on Presidential policy. In 1968, my brother Ian and I traveled with Daddy to the Democratic convention.

I spent my days by his side on the convention floor while Ian stumbled into our shared hotel room late at night from the mass protests down in Lincoln Park. On the day Daddy decided to do his reporting from the angle of the demonstrators, he and I, both asthma sufferers, encountered the tear gas. Of the two of us, he was in worse shape. I managed to steer him through the noisy crowd and commandeer a taxi to get him back to the hotel.”