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Democratic Convention Part III

Part III: The Campaign Begins

I never thought I’d say this, but Barack Obama’s acceptance speech was a pretty empty display, a blatant call for votes with more rhetoric than substance to it. Maybe it was Bill Clinton’s elegant communication—and it was communication on a higher order than political speech—that doomed anything that followed it, including from Obama, whom I previously thought was the best speaker of our time. I don’t think so anymore, and I’m not alone. A brief glance at this morning’s headlines portray his acceptance speech as a big snooze. Not that it matters much: Michele Obama, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton did the job, and if the election is based on their speeches, Barack Obama will be re-elected. (Please!)

I had planned, for my third and final post on the topic, to talk about alternative coverage of the convention, news sources other than CNN, MSNBC, or Fox (pick your poison), but then I realized, hey, it’s over, why bother? Barack Obama accepted the nomination for another term, gave his speech, and the confetti flew. The wives and kids came onstage for the final love fest, and it was all over but the voting.

Ah, yes, voting! It might be a good idea to watch, read, and listen to a variety of news sources during the campaign. Democracy Now hosted by Amy Goodman is a great place to find out what goes on behind the scenes, in the streets, and even in the prisons. I always seem to find news on DN that’s being ignored elsewhere. During the convention they did a story on an organization called Political Party Time, which monitors fundraising and other events of both major parties. Some of the stuff they dig up is a hoot. In fact, if you read nothing else during this election season, you must read about the extracurricular activities listed at PPTime.

According to their website, “Party Time has logged more than 400 events in Charlotte, about double the entertainment schedule in Tampa.” At a welcome

party on the first day, one could partake of a class on formal dining etiquette at the Academy of Etiquette & Charm.   Here delegates brushed up on their manners before attending the many meals that are a major part of conventioneering. The Academy says the people they teach are, and I quote, “adults, teens, children, professionals and elite housewives.”  Who do you suppose is an elite housewife? A balaboosta?—that’s the Yiddish term for perfect homemaker, who is, I assume, a Martha Stewart type. But maybe “elite” in this context means something else; who knows?  I may be stereotyping, but I doubt it would occur to the Republicans, replete with bluebloods, that their constituents would want or need an etiquette class; half of them began training at the breast.

Another interesting event was hosted, appropriately enough, by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund: a  Sex, Politics and Cocktails party.  PP handed out condoms with labels attached that advised “Protect Yourself from Romney and Ryan.

PPT doesn’t stop covering events after the confetti’s cleared away; they continue monitoring fund-raisers and parties all year round. Some are straight-up dinners and cocktail parties, but there are more offbeat events in this crowd than I ever would have suspected—as many, and as wacky, as those among sex-positive radicals in the Bay Area.

Fundraisers and Fun Raisers

Senator James Inhofe, for instance, (R-OK) hosts an annual dove hunt  inLone Wolf, Oklahoma. Tickets run from $250 for a reception sans hunt to $2,500 for a “gold level” political action committee. Shooting innocent doves? Why am I surprised? Do you suppose the doves are symbolic, purposely selected as an anti-peacenik statement? The whole thing creeps me out. Another Inhofe event is a dinner for “Mountain Men,” whoever they might be. This guy’s a real doozy: he believes global warming is a hoax, and wrote  The Greatest Hoax as his way of proving it.

Like many of his party cohorts, Inhofe spreads blatant lies without concern for facts or fact-checkers. The first page of his book asks “Why”? and continues with a litany of untrue assertions: “Why, when the United Nations IPCC (Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change) is totally refuted…When Al Gore is totally discredited…When man-made global warming is totally debunked…” None of these statements live anywhere near the realm of truth.

Let the Sun Shine

Another organization I learned of via Democracy NOW, not quite as much fun as PPT, but still informational, is The Sunlight Foundation, which reports on who’s financing what in the political nether world. Their website notes: Across the U.S. and around the globe, people are joining the open government movement. Attend a local meetup or TransparencyCamp. See who is making an impact in your community.

Those aren’t the only things I’ve gotten from DN, just the most recent. I recommend watching or listening to the show a few times a week; it’s available on many venues, so check out their website for a schedule.

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