If I had one, something small enough to tuck into my back jeans pocket, or my front shirt pocket, I could pull it out and jot down the thoughts I have that make me go "Oh, I need to talk about that, I need to post my thoughts," when I have the thoughts, and then I could, you know, post about my thoughts, because I wouldn't have forgotten it. This is not necessarily what would happen, I know, knowing myself as I do. But still ....
I finished watching the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. I have thoughts. Of course I have thoughts.
First thing I need to do is shout out my love to C-Span.
Bob and I settled on it as our channel of choice, rather than MSNBC because much as both of us love many of the intelligent talking heads on that channel, I didn't want a lot of talk, and Bob agreed. I've since heard that MSNBC stayed admirably quiet, but C-Span was wonderful so neither of us regretted the choice. It just let the show roll on. Afterward, the channel had an extremely competent person take calls from Democrats, Republicans and independents, to ask them what they thought of the proceedings. Competent doesn't begin to do the gentleman justice; the difficulty of airing as many calls as possible, whilst being able to cut off long-winded, offensive, or just plain unhinged calls when necessary can't be overstated. Nor can the talent and ability to do it right. This gentleman, who I think must have had some journalistic background, did it with aplomb.
Next, about the convention itself. It was, of course, not the convention that had been planned prior to February. It was a show. But it was a great show. While I knew I was watching something pre-planned each night, planned to unroll with what I'm sure they hoped was metronomic precision (spoiler; it didn't, and I loved that it didn't), I never forgot that it was a show.
And it was a good show.
Let's get the necessary caveats out of the way. I'm aware of all that is wrong with the 20th and 21st century American political experience. I know much of its sordid history and its problematic present. And I have become much more cynical than I was in my youth although I know some people who know me would laugh heartily and remind me that I am, inescapably, a Pollyanna. I know this was put together with the intention of making me think that the Democratic party is unified, that it isn't centrist, that it doesn't have a corporate monkey on its back, that it isn't enchained with monetary donations from entities it should eschew.
And yet. And yet.
I think the show - put together in what, televisionally speaking, was the last possible moment, thenkewverymuch COVID-19 - did more than what its planners hoped.
I think the planners tried to highlight the better things in our human nature. I think they succeeded, better than they'd hoped to.
They broadcast not fear and hatred, the stock in trade of the current White House inhabitant, the stock in trade of those who believe in him and those who don't, but want to profit off him. They broadcast better things.
Higher things; decency, determination to try to do the right thing, to make at least some apologetic acknowledgement of how fucked up this country's history is, and how little anyone now living can try to distance themselves from that fucked up history,
More importantly, they stated, either baldly, or in between the lines, how much moral, ethical value there is in taking up the work of making our future better than our past has been.
It broadcast - and this was baldly, and properly so in my opinion - the determination to dig ourselves out of the shit show that we've dealt with over the past four years.
Perhaps they didn't mean to say those things so baldly. Perhaps they did. Perhaps they knew - told themselves they knew - it was all showbiz.
Then again, perhaps they knew that showbiz ultimately only survives, only works, if it's grounded in reality.
So it worked, all of it, especially some of the speakers. Elizabeth Warren, my girl, my woman. Michelle Obama. Barack Obama. Kamala Harris (and this is an interesting answer to the "She was a horribly un-progressive DA" argument that I'd actually bought into before I read this). Joe Biden - who's still pretty problematic in some ways, and highly admirable in other way. You know. Like a human.
I've been reading up on the Republican party platforms over the past few years (as in, the platforms going back to 1922), because I talked in another post about how I wondered what Republicans actually stood for these days, and I figured I'd better check the actual platforms out before shooting off my mouth (ah kaffyr , quel prudence!), and I want to comment on that before the GOP convention gets started. Who knows if I'll succeed ... but I digress ....
But I had to say how much I was nourished, and bolstered, and helped, by watching the Democratic convention. Especially after dealing with uber-progressive Twitter over the last week. Protip: don't do that. Don't ever do that, and I say that as a late-blooming progressive myself
Maybe things are gonna get better.
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