I spent much of yesterday reading blogs and comments on the previous night's riveting speeches by Carter and Clinton. It's really too bad that the networks deem the conventions not worthy of coverage. Once again, they fail their civic duty by refusing to showcase the ideas and issues important to this campaign, which is itself of the greatest importance.
Last night it was great to see Howard Dean come to the podium to the cheering of the crowd. The applause seemed to go on and on. Who can forget for one minute that he's the one who gave the Dems a spine? He touched a nerve because he found the guts to say the things that were on the minds of so many of us. For many in the audience, Dean was their first choice for president, and although they now support Kerry, Dean is still their man. I know that's true for me.
And I got a chance to see Barack Obama, and I must say, the man has charisma. Kos writes fittingly about Obama's speech, which I thought was brilliant. It sounded all the right notes and it seemed sincere, passionate, and above all, full of optimism and the conviction that America will rise above its current tattered and muddied state. There was nothing divisive in it, nothing that played on America's fears or the bigotry of some of its citizens.
Even people on the right are saying wonderful things about Obama. He is exciting. He really articulated the liberal position, and he talked about values in a way that makes me think the Repugs will never again be able to hijack that word for their own nefarious uses.
Don't believe me? Go read what even Andrew Sullivan has to say about Obama:
Conservative values, Democratic compassion. In the constant churn and dialectic of American politics, this is a new fusion - and the Dems have found a young, racially diverse, eloquent voice. Can you think of any current Republican with that kind of fresh appeal and smart politics? Only Arnold comes close. The Republicans would love to have someone of Obama's caliber - but they have failed to attract them. That is their tragedy, and it is only deepened in a party that gave rise to Trent Lott and Tom DeLAy. Obama is the Democrats' hope. Heck, he is the hope for all of us.(On the other hand, I had to laugh at Sully's criticism of Teresa Heinz Kerry. "Dull in the way rich people often are"? Hehee ... that's funny, when you consider W and Laura.)
And I have news for Sullivan: hard work, personal responsibility, belief in God, patriotism, and the commitment to ONE United States of America are not "conservative values." The right-wing view of Democrats has been skewed for so long that they now believe lefties find these values anathema. That has never been true. Sully, your ignorance and blind acceptance of propaganda are showing.
I also was quite impressed with Ron Reagan. He made stem cell research understandable, and he left no possible doubt that it's crucial to get on with the research and stop considering a cell as equivalent to a human being. I particularly like this line:
But it does not follow that the theology of a few should be allowed to forestall the health and well-being of the many. And how can we affirm life if we abandon those whose own lives are so desperately at risk?Wow! Who would have thought I'd ever be able to tolerate someone with that name??
Tonight I'm looking forward to the speeches by John Edwards and Al Sharpton. Our own Jennifer Granholm will be speaking as well, not that I expect anything thrilling there.
Finally, I have a confession to make: I love it when "Go, Johnny, go"--the chorus of "Johnny B. Goode"--is played and the big screen flashes that on both ends of the screen. I don't know why ... it just amuses me.