The DNC has just wrapped up their convention. The actual news: Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have accepted their Party’s nomination.
(I note that, despite some “excellent”, “well-intentioned” and “perfectly sound” advice from the our friends to the right, it wasn’t Hillary Clinton accepting the VP nomination…)
But the conventions were so much more than nomination machines. They provided Americans with a well-packaged set of arguments for why their candidates should be elected.
I listened to some of the content from both conventions, and man, what a difference! First, the Republicans sounded angrier. During the previous decade they peddled fear during their conventions. This decade they seemed to be peddling some bizarre moralistic hate. But the biggest difference is that the Republicans were selling us yesterday—a world without concerns for the environment, a world lacking equality for most non-Caucasian-hetersexual-male humans, a world lacking humanity and compassion. To me, it comes off as social and economic Darwinism—petty, selfish, greedy, primative thinking.
In contrast, the DNC was filled with thoughts of a better America—a future based on the future instead of clinging to a distant (and largely illusory) past. It was hopeful; it was optimistic; it was long term; it was about creating a better world together. It was a vision that embodies and embraces the single most distinctive trait of Homo sapiens: Our hyper-social nature that has empowered us to take collective action on huge scales to benefit whole societies. America is a shining example of this uniquely human trait.
Of course another huge difference between the two conventions was the use and abuse of Truth. Sure…some factual mistakes were made by speakers at both conventions. But there are elements at the very foundations of Romney’s argument to be President that are based on fabrications, distortions, or taking words out of context. As you can tell, I’m not buying hate, but peddling hate using lies, distortions, and out-of-context sound bites isn’t a winning strategy. Politically, you are what you eat, and too many people are smart enough to walk when being fed a constant diet of bullshit.
There were a number of inspiring speeches at the DNC. I’ll just cover the four biggies (and without suggestion that there were no other top-notch speeches at the convention):
- I though President Obama had a solid speech, despite sounding rather horse and, maybe, a little tired. His arguments were coherent, convincing and, at times, inspiring. But, speaking as someone who sat in Mile High stadium as Sen. Obama delivered his first acceptance speech, it wasn’t his best address ever. Let’s give it a B+. It did the job quite nicely.
- Michelle Obama gave a solid performance. I am constantly impressed by her ability to “play” First Lady, given the high power Type-A professional position she gave up to become FLOTUS. She is a most impressive human being.
- Joe Biden was incredible. This speech was on par with the one he gave to the NAACP this year. Wingnuts have a strong tendency to underestimate Joe Biden. And, empirically, it hasn’t served them well.
- Clearly, the top prize goes to Bill Clinton, who can serve it up like no other. Yes, my wingnut friends, Clinton definitely blows Reagan away in oratorical prowess. I challenge anyone to find a speech by Reagan that even came close to this one. Bill was on fire.
Ultimately, the DNC seemed like a celebration of the future. I liked the vision.