Amy and I have spent the last few nights watching both the Democratic and Republican conventions. Conventions aren't really very useful for forming your opinion on a candidate, as they are filled with generalizations and vague "facts" and plans and not real policy, but they can be entertaining. I remember participating in the mock-Democratic Convention in high school and it seemed to have little to do with the speeches. It was more about building a solid platform from all of the different caucuses.
Watching the conventions on-demand versus live has highlighted this difference in perspective. Watching pundits comment on amplified rhetoric was comical. It points out the severe lack of journalism in this country. I find it ironic that bloggers are criticized as not being true journalists while pundits and newspaper writers drone on about what really amounts to the climactic end to a pep rally. But, it was entertaining and I am sincerely inspired right now.
In the end, I am very excited about Obama. He is what this country needs. He and the Dems are resonating with me again. REAL change. REAL. And when Obama talks about it, you can tell he isn't just talking about him. He is talking about the country changing. It goes beyond his presidency. He talks about his opponents with respect, with an eye toward working with them in the future.
Meanwhile, the RNC reads like a Comedy Central roast of the Democratic Party. The sneers and jokes aimed at the Dems got laughs and roars from the crowd. But I think they need to realize that they aren't just making fun of Obama. They are making fun of ME. I am a Democrat. I believe in a different way of doing things. Right or wrong, I disagree. And in this country my opinion counts no matter who wins an election. The GOP may have strengthened their ranks with a battle cry, but they certainly didn't win me over.
It actually makes me kind of sad. I love John McCain. I would have voted for him had he run against Kerry. Seriously. To hear him and his party speak so poorly of their fellow Americans shatters my respect for him and the GOP. I can only hope that the Dems don't respond with the same kind of tactics.
After speeches from both conventions I was once again puzzled by the Republican offering. From Bush's references to Iraq and 9/11 and the story of Petty Officer Monseniour I heard a message of fear. John McCain will keep us safe from the terrorists, it seemed to say. Really? I don't feel any safer or any more in danger than I did 8 years ago. Has fighting the war in Iraq made a difference?
When I listen to the Democratic platform, I can't see why anyone wouldn't want it (and NO, it isn't going to bankrupt families to pay for it). While the Republicans are hating on Obama, readying the drills for the arctic, and once again providing more for the rich the Dems are saying, "yeah we might need to drill a bit but we need to invest in alternatives, the rich need to start paying more taxes, and let's honor McCain's service."
Maybe the fact that I can't even fathom why anybody would be a Republican (and I am sure the feeling is mutual) is the reason we have so much to lose. I dont understand the logic of half the country. This is a serious concern. The GOP is positioning itself as the party of the rural poor (Jimmy Carter must be livid) with Palin and looking to pit itself against the money hungry elitist Democrats. I can't comprehend why anyone would buy this story.
I came in to these conventions apathetic. I leave inspired and hopeful. Just remember when you make snide jokes about Obama or the Democrats you are criticizing what I BELIEVE in. I believe it with my heart and soul. What would you do if I made light of your beliefs?