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Two conventions down, two months to go

Gabby Giffords at the DNC

Gabby Giffords waves to delegates at the DNC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Democrats wrapped up their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., last night and I’m glad it’s over. Was I overwhelmed by the speeches? No. Good ol’ Joe Biden used his “arithmetic” to cut down the Republicans, and did a good, if overly long job of it. He sounded convincing but, as with the GOP and all politicians, “figures can lie and liars can figure.” It’s up to the listener to sort out the sources, do the math, and decide who to believe. And although he was rather long-winded, I think he was more convincing than the president, perhaps because he got into more specifics.

And for the record, I can’t stand what Biden seems to think is a cool slogan: “Osama bin Laden is dead; General Motors is alive.”

I noticed other things, like how diverse the audience was. It looked like all races and all ages were amply represented — in stark contrast to the Republican convention. The president’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, have grown a lot since I last noticed or paid attention. I hardly recognized them. And one particular sign: Women will remember in November.

There were two highlights for me. The first was Gabby Giffords leading the Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn’t easy for her and I’ve no doubt she practiced long and hard. It’s a wonder she was there at all. She looked proud of herself when she finished, and justifiably so.

The other highlight was Sandra Fluke, the young attorney who spoke out in Washington for women’s rights to birth control, and was called a slut by Rush Limbaugh for doing so. Her comments were brief, but her words, more than any others I heard, stuck with me. In describing the America we could choose in November, she said:

… An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women….

As much as anything else, that describes for me the difference between Obama and Romney, between the Democrats and Republicans. When a women is attacked — in any way — is your first thought of empathy and concern, or is it of your own political position? When anyone in this country is attacked or in trouble, is your first concern their well-being or your own?

And don’t try to tell me, as the GOP is trying to do, that this is a “just” a social issue and that national economic concerns are more important. For women, health and reproductive care is an economic issue. Abortion is an economic issue. Health care is an economic issue.

In any case, with both conventions over, it’s now a two-month sprint to the finish line. And if you don’t happen to live in a swing state … count your blessings.

12 Comments »

  1. Good post, PT. I would take issue with your disdain for Biden’s bumper sticker, however. Sure it’s simplistic, but I submit that it’s good politics in the tradition of such and to not do it would be the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight. Or something like that. 🙂 I can’t help but to like Uncle Joe when he takes up for the little guy.

    • I like him a lot too, despite his gaffes. He seems so … honest, so unpretentious. I’m not sure he could pull off a lot of political doublespeak if he tried. He’s “just folks.” As is his slogan. It’s blunt, not particularly eloquent, succinct, or clever (which is my preference in slogans). But then, that’s Joe, isn’t it?

  2. Both parties are still selling unrealistic dreams. The republicans began with promising a pot for every chicken and the Democrats responded with the promise of a chicken in every pot. We’re going to wind up importing both chickens and pots.

    • Well said! I’d be chuckling, but it really is no laughing matter. Frankly, my impression is that no matter where the chickens and pots come from (and imported is a good bet), the Republicans want all of them for themselves.

  3. Good post PT. And I love that image of Gabby Giffords. Unfortunately, Ohio is one of those “battleground” states and I’m sick to death of the whole thing. As much as I hate the idea of Romney and his right-winged dingbats winning this thing, I have little faith that anything much will change regardless…

  4. Regarding Imalibertarian’s comment, which is difficult to argue with. As one who long ago voted for a third party presidential candidate, I’ve come to realize that doing so is a wasted vote. Libertarians I know have views that appear in the thinking of backers of both major parties. The trick is to decide which one will reflect most of their ideas. I think the Democrats include most of my libertarian ideas in their platform this time around, but that may vary with individuals.

    • While I like the idea of standing on principle and voting for a third party candidate, I”d rather have my vote count for or against one of the major candidates. And the Republicans have moved too far right for me.

      • Since my vote has never broken a tie, I’ll continue to cast my vote for the lesser evil whether they have a chance of being elected or not. We will NEVER elect the least evil candidate until more people realize that Democrats and Republicans are dedicated, civic minded, compassionate idiots.

"Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance and intolerance armed with power." ~ Voltaire

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