Thursday, August 05, 2004

Thoughts on the Democrats' Convention

Well, let's start with Music: that's how I decide most important things -- from my religion to my politics.

(As Bill Hicks once opined, given the choice between partying with a Fundamentalist Christian family listening to Pat Boone -- and a den of devil worshippers bangin' heads to Ozzy, I’d have to go with the devil worshippers, hands down.)

So John Kerry entered to Bruce Springsteen and departed to U-2!? Well, the Dems might be losers, but they've got the best music. No doubt. End of that debate.

BOSTON: Jeez, who knew America had a Revolution 231 years ago, a revolution that began in Boston Harbor and was about Freedom, Democracy, Liberty, Justice, and a deep commitment to a Separation of Church and State? Who knew Boston was home to a daring bunch of Liberal crazies who had the audacity to defy an authoritarian cabal of Conservatives that only wanted to preserve a Monarchy, an Aristocracy, and a few centuries of various religious wars and persecutions waged by violent religious Fundamentalists who thought they had an exclusive on God's Truth? Who knew that people who believed in a government by and for the people were once called liberals, radicals, and unpatriotic traitors? Who knew?

Nice history lesson. Let's hope Americans were paying attention.

STEM-CELL RESEARCH - ahahaha. heh. heh. Ahahahah! Sorry, I can't stop laughing. Ahahah. This is the GOP's "gay marriage" issue.

WHAT?! You're against research that might save millions of lives in the future -- based on some medieval concepts that value a little collection of molecules over the happiness and health of people like... RONALD REAGAN, that god among men who also happens to be a future Saint of the party? What?!"

Yeah, Bush can be smart and logical and compassionate and visionary and say "YES" to Stem-Cell Research, but that means saying "NO" to his looney rich fundamentalist hard-right base. Stem-cell research. Little globs of goo, Yes. Lots of dead people who could have been saved, No. Stem-cell. Gay marriage. Stem-Cell. Ahahahahaha. Ahahahaha. Um, Mr. President, Would you like some more paint to go with that shrinking corner? Ahahahah.

Okay, so much for the biggest laugh of the entire convention: Let's move on:

Now, if one compares the 'FAMILIES' of the Democratic and Republican candidates, Bush and Cheney had better be calling an adoption agency this morning. They can't touch the honesty, integrity, beauty, intelligence, and downright squeeky-clean confidence in the Edwards-Kerry households. Both mens' daughters could probably run for office tomorrow, right after they posed for the cover of Vogue.

And when the camera panned the convention center hall, what did you see? The great and beautiful diversity of America; a rainbow of skin colors, age groups, nationalities, and economic levels: black, white, yellow, red, green, and even gothic pale; young, old, older -- and boomers galore, the generation that was one of the last in America to think they could change the world just by showing up and Doing The Right Thing.

There were Beautiful people, homely people, poor people, middle-class people, yes, and even a few rich people. Teachers, soldiers, nurses, veterans, firefighters, cops, ironworkers, autoworkers, students, Union organizers, a few Hollywood types, but mostly just people without a capital "P". The little people. The workers, not the CEOs. Diversity. Yes! A roomful of tolerant people concerned about their closest neighbors and even total strangers that might be less fortunate. There were Gays. Lesbians. Heathens. Pagans. Christians. Atheists. Jews. Arabs. Environmentalists... No, wait, was that an entire building filled with folks concerned about the earth, the air, the water, the natural beauty of our national lands!? Concerned about the future we'll hand off to our progeny? People who don't think, "Fuck the future, I've got mine..."? People who would rather walk or carpool or ride a bike or invest in some collective creativity and invention now rather than send their kids off to fight and die in another war for a finite resource? Yeah, man, what's not to like? Those are my people, and I'm not alone. I'M not alone! YOU'RE not alone. WE'RE not alone.

I even thought I saw an elderly black woman who appeared to be old enough to remember a grandparent talking about slavery; and when Al Sharpton raised the roof with his speech that recounted a history of oppression followed by liberty, freedom, equality, and accomplishment -- when he spoke of marches and church bombings and then referred to the current strength of African-Americans in the Democratic Party -- well, that elderly black woman, who knew what it was like to be part of the most marginalized race and gender in American history -- she had tears in her eyes, the legitimate kind of moment that gives life to these scripted affairs where we are finally able to encounter the people behind The Abstractions.

TERESA HEINZ - Meet the new "Hillary" for the Right. She's smart, articulate, opinionated, demands intellectual, social, and political equality, and she's strong, in other words, the antithesis to Laura and Lynn. To a liberal, Heinz comes across as the kind of woman to admire, the kind you want in your organization, the kind you want on your team because she'll look you in the eye and tell you the truth; she's got a mind of her own and speaks it without hesitation. To a Conservative, she's yet another uppity woman who wants to talk and act like a man; she's a bleeding heart hypocrite, and the Righteous Right's idea of Satan Incarnate -- which means the Gigantic Right-Wing Smear Machine will make her as important of a target as the Democratic candidates themselves; they know that a smart-ass confident #2 woman gives the GOP the willies. Thing is -- she's equal to the task, so this should be fun.

BARACK OBAMA - Wow. We might have seen the future of the Democratic Party. A young, intelligent, articulate man who just happens to be from a mixed-race marriage and is not afraid to call himself a "liberal". And what's not to like here? Put him next to that ball-less Steppin'-Fetchit Colon Powell and let's compare! With Obama, we witnessed a rising star, a future mover and shaker, a glimmer of hope. Let's just hope he makes it farther than Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and other 'bright lights' of the Democratic Party that were snuffed out way too early.

(Which reminds me of a history trivia question: Why is it the Right has all the assassins? When was the last time "the left" produced a political assassin who combined fanatical insanity with being a decent shot?)

JOHN EDWARDS - handsome, articulate, compassionate, fiercely intelligent; a true Horatio Alger narrative, the kind Americans love, the dirt poor child who becomes a world-class trial lawyer, the David who makes a career by defending other defenseless little Davids against abusive, arrogant, all-powerful Corporate Juggernaut Goliaths. A guy who could have joined a rich law firm, but yet chose to work with the poor and the helpless. That's called Integrity, and it’s something rare in American politics.

JOHN KERRY -- Well, let's hope George Tenet doesn't characterize his speech as a "slam dunk", but he apparently hit one over the Green Monster at Fenway park. He pulled every rhetorical rug out from under the GOP before the battle has even begun. He requisitioned the flag, asserting that it was the property of all Americans. He proved his potential for bravery and leadership in a time of war; he volunteered to go to Nam while W. was guarding the border of Texas from a Mexican invasion. He's got medals to prove it. He produced his "band of brothers", more than a few who've voted Republican most of their lives, but who, thanks to Kerry's bravery and integrity, have been inspired to help see that he leads the country over the next four years.

Kerry took that pesky "patriotic" word away from the GOP, gave it real meaning with real stories of blood, sweat, and sacrifice, and then handed it back to them with a capital "P" that includes all Americans who love their country.

He undermined their ubiquitous "love it or leave it" attitude, pointing out that one is not unpatriotic because one criticizes the President and his actions, but because one tries to intimidate or suppress contrary opinions in a nation dedicated to The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He reminded the GOP of those two precious documents and talked about what they really say and mean -- which contradicts much of the implicit and explicit crap coming out of so many conservatives mouths in recent years.

He showed that Democrats can be tough, aren't afraid to fight (see, sometimes they even volunteer!) and laid out the big differences in social and economic policies. He made it safe for Democrats to praise the military, to show their patriotism, and to threaten to protect the nation from terrorist attacks. He hinted that he'll out-Right Bush when it comes to Iraq and the military. Ahahah. (Good plan!)

He negated their arguments and attacks before they could even get out of the box; jobs, health care, budget, defense: he set 'em up, knocked 'em down, and completely disarmed virtually every area of attack the GOP had in their play book -- BEFORE the whistle blew to start the game. Slam dunk, home run, check and mate.

And lastly, at the end there, when you see the Kerrys and the Edwards families up there on stage together -- and you think about George and Laura and the twins... and Dick and Lynn and their um... brood... ya gotta ask yourself:

"Who do I like?"

"Who do I trust?"

"Who would I rather be stuck with in an elevator?"

"...For four years?"

No contest.


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