One Down, One to Go

Last night the Democratic National Convention wrapped up in Denver with Barack Obama delivering his acceptance speech before more than 75,000 at Mile High Stadium.  Now officially the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, Obama’s speech capped off four days of efforts to bring the party together behind him for victory, to heal some of the divisions in a characteristically fractious political party, to define the party’s image, and define more who its candidate is.

I didn’t watch the entire convention, but did see a few of the key speeches.  Obviously the convention is largely there for show; party conventions haven’t really been where candidates are chosen for years.  But as scripted as they are, it is useful to watch at least some of it to see what the party thinks is important and how it chooses to talk about those things.

For me, there was no question going in, and really no question coming out of the convention who I will vote for this November.  Every candidate is, simply by virtue of the process, a compromise.  Barack Obama is no different, nor will John McCain be.  And while neither may be everything everyone would wish them to be, I will be watching and listening for the best chance for our nation to regain international credibility and for the restoration of civil rights and economic justice in a time when they are sorely needed.

To be fair, I will watch the Republican National Convention next week.  Now that John McCain has announced Alaska governor Sarah Palin (Any relation to Michael, I wonder?  No, probably not.) as his running mate, I suspect there will be even more attention paid to the convention than there would have been anyway.  What I will be listening for is what the Republican Party’s vision, and its nominee’s vision, are for our nation.


2 thoughts on “One Down, One to Go

  1. Both of the conventions were nauseatingly choreographed, but that was to be expected. Of the two, the overall tone of the Democratic convention was more hopeful, the Republican convention more strident and angry. The Republicans have what I would have to think is a near-impossible task; trying to paint themselves as agents of change when they are largely (but not wholly) reponsible for the last eight years of disastrous economic and foreign policies that have brought us to where we are today.

    Not surprisingly, there was very little talk about the Bush legacy, though the spirit of Ronald Reagan was invoked more than once. I heard a lot of rhetoric – tired rhetoric, in my opinion – red meat patriotism (though I like both red meat and consider myself patriotic in my allegiance to the principles on which our nation was founded), and an undertone of the same fear-mongering we have endured for the last seven years.

    The Democrats have a nearly impossible task as well – trying to come up with a way out of the messes in which we find ourselves, having been so hamstrung by the choices the Bush Administration and the Republican-led (or Democratic-led, and do-nothing) Congress have made. There were some more specifics, but you can only take so much of that to the bank. What a president is able to accomplish once in office is as much a product of Congress and other events as it is his/her leadership ability.

    At one time I said McCain might be the one Republican I could vote for, but not any more. It’s one thing for a candidate to be a compromise, but he’s compromised himself too much. His pick of Sarah Palin makes that clear enough, pandering to the evangelical right and disaffected Hillary supporters. Please.

    The two Constitutional duties of the vice president are to have a pulse and cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, and I can’t for a minute see Palin as president. Since when did we come to think anyone could be president, that anyone could do it? If Palin, with her local government experience and brief stint as Alaska governor, qualifies her, then I must be at least as qualified, that is if we use the same criteria Karl Rove (and other Republicans) appear to want to use.

    Both conventions tried to make us feel inspired about largely uninspiring choices, though I’m not sure “inspired” or “inspirational” is really what we need. Both were four day orgies of the party faithful and those who went or watched with the intent of having their faith affirmed were not disappointed. Neither convention changed my mind: There is even less question about who I will vote for in November, but I can’t honestly say I feel very good about it.

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