Well, I may be losing my mind but I thought the Democratic Convention Day 1 was pretty exciting. Passionate diverse looking people! Warring factions! Actual issues!
Having sat through the entire 4 days of the GOP convention last week, the differences between the two parties are now glaringly apparent in just the language used at today’s event alone. Gone was obsessive talk about ISIS, guns and walls. In their place were phrases rarely heard last week: Civil rights! Voting rights! Affordable health insurance! Labor unions! A woman’s right to choose! There were even mentions of raising the minimum wage and two little words I was worrying I might never hear again: CLIMATE CHANGE! What a relief to realize that everyone who spoke was from the public service sector or a union or a committee of some kind…not just the relatives or employees of the candidate. Yes, there were obvious short-comings, like the notable lack of discussion of golf courses or the building of luxury hotels. But they couldn’t get to everything. It was only day 1.
Day One started off strong and positive with a black gospel choir, followed by a montage about Philadelphia: a city full of clapping and jumping people. An appearance by Boys 2 Men immediately set a better standard for dancing. Taking in the high spirits, I thought to myself, “Go team! Hooray for my vision of the family of man!” But by the time the distinctively named Marcia Fudge, a woman of great dignity who chaired the event, began to be rudely overtaken by the Bernie chanters, I was back to remembering why I learned at a young age to be suspicious of anything reminiscent of family. Whenever things appear to be going great, somebody in the family always has to start in.
The minor chords of the chanting and the booing from the disillusioned Bernie contingent continued to be heard behind the next few speakers. They especially exhibited displeasure at the idea of Bernie being subsumed into the unified field, as seen in the signs that said “Stronger Together.”
As they continued to bleat, that mosquito like BOO tone began filling me with the same nervous apprehension I feel when I realize the people sitting behind me are planning to talk through the whole movie. Eventually the task became figuring out how to pay attention in class when the boys in the back of the room refused to stop pushing over desks.
It took an appearance by the fearless Sarah Silverman, a former Bernie campaigner, to finally address it. I have never admired her more. She later referred to Hilary “as the first person actually over qualified for the job of President. ‘
I was relieved to hear a repeated mentions of the specific pathologies of the terrifying Presidential candidate Mr. Trump, his misogyny and his bullying, his dishonesty and scams and obsession with personal aggrandizement. These included both a video about Trump university, and a live appearance by a Trump U. victim.
Act two started with Al Franken, who was smart and funny. And encouraged people to go to work for Hilary.
Then peaked with a great inspiring speech by Elizabeth Warren,. in which she referred to Trump’s entire campaign as an infomercial, and countered a lot of other Trump rhetoric.“America isn’t going broke.” She said, “ CEOs make tens of millions of dollars…Washington works great for those at the top but try to do something anything for working people and you have a fight on your hands.”
Though, for me some of the evening’s most amusing moments were provided by the cutaways to Bill Clinton, who appeared to be feeling flu-ish or peevish or peckish. Here he is after Elizabeth Warren’s rousing speech.
ACT THREE was totally owned by the electric, brilliant and graceful Michelle Obama who actually made me tear up…and I only cry twice a year. Maybe it was when she spoke about teaching her daughters to ignore the ignorant things being said about their father. “When they go low, we go high.” she said. But it was probably when she spoke of “Leaders like Hilary Clinton who keep coming back and putting cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling, lifting all of us along with her”
But ACT THREE was always building to the headliner, Bernie Sanders, who received about 8 minutes of cheering from supporters so emotional that they reminded me of old timey Beatle fans. Bernie loved their adoration for quite a while before he went on to assure them that he and Hilary had a “a significant coming together and we produced the most progressive political platform in the history of the Democratic party”
Now the downside: this week’s camera pool was provided by CNN who seem to be asleep at the switch. Though there was a live band playing, there were relatively few shots of the band or of audience dancing. My thoughts and prayers are with the camera crew that they can find their way down to the convention floor and right this terrible wrong. Here is all I could find.