Part II: In Praise Of Democrats
Before I say one more word about the Democratic convention, anyone who missed Bill Clinton’s speech last night should run right over to You Tube and watch it now. It is well worth the 49 minutes—this guy can talk, remember?—and he reminds you that there’s still hope in the realm of electoral politics. More on Bill later.
Show Don’t Tell is the first—possibly the only—rule of creative writing. You don’t introduce your main character with, “Jane was prone to daydreaming out in nature.” Rather, you say something like, “Jane ambled down the lilac-lined driveway on her way to pick up the mail as she’d been asked to do, when a cluster of just-bloomed orange tiger lilies beckoned her. She stood admiring them so long that she forgot to do the errand and went back empty-handed.”
This writing metaphor came to me because, at their convention, Messrs. Romney, Ryan, and other Republicans told us, in a mountain of phony verbiage, what caring concerned people they are, while the Democrats showed their care and concern via a long line of speakers whose lives have been improved by President Obama’s policies. Who knew?
Lily Ledbetter told of the injustice that was never made right for her, but won’t be inflicted on our daughters and granddaughters because President Obama signed her namesake, The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, as his first piece of legislation. Ledbetter was one in the parade of strong, righteous women who addressed the convention. There was Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League-Pro-Choice America (NARAL); Sandra Fluke, whom Rush Limbaugh called a slut for demanding insurance-covered contraception; and Stacey Lihn, whose baby daughter needed three heart surgeries within the first few years of her life, the cost of which would have maxed out her insured care, until Obama’s health bill made such caps illegal. Said Lihn:
“Like so many moms with sick children, I shed tears and I could breathe easier knowing we have that net below us to catch us if we fall… Zoe’s third open-heart surgery will happen either next year or the year after. If Mitt Romneybecomes president and Obamacare is repealed, there’s a good chance she’ll hit her lifetime cap.”
There was also a visitation from Sister Simone, a Catholic nun who called Republicanism “Politics masquerading as values.” This I take exception to: organized religion doesn’t have the exclusive franchise on values. Politics are about who has power and who does not; who has money and who does not; who will eat and who will not. If that’s not defining values, I don’t know what is.
The issues of contraception and birth control were front and center, more than they’ve ever been before, a hard-hitting response to the crap Republicans have been throwing around since the primaries. I give the Dems a lot of credit; in fact, I’m ecstatic that they seem to have grown a pair. (You know what I’m saying…didn’t you just love Clinton’s similar allusion to “brass?” )
One thing that bothers me, though, about the contraception/abortion debate is the absence of any comparison to policy on Viagra and similar drugs. They’re covered by insurance to “treat” “erectile dysfunction” (gimme a break!) without a single iota of controversial discussion. You don’t hear men being grilled about their “ED”, they’re simply believed when they say they have it. Men aren’t treated like children who can’t make their own decisions. Nobody even dares to point out that fewer erections are a normal part of aging. Nobody accuses men of wanting others to pay for their pleasure. I’ve heard absolutely zero controversy about these drugs that’ve been flagrantly misused for recreational sex since Day One of their appearance in pharmacies. I even knew a guy who stocked up on them just to sell them at a profit, and I’m sure he wasn’t the only one. I’m not saying I’m against Viagra use; but it does make me furious how different men’s and women’s sexuality gets treated. It’s the double standard for geezers! I know…this should probably be a separate blog. I just had to say something…okay, moving right along:
The Party With Heart
The ultimate tear jerk material, or so I thought, came on Tuesday night with a video tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy. Naturally, there was not a dry eye in the house—or, I’ll bet, in the homes of people like me who watched those gut-wrenching memories and remembered a time when we had a more functional government.
At one point the Kennedy footage evoked simultaneous tears and laughter, in a segment of the debate between Teddy and Mitt Romney in their opposing campaigns for Senate. Kennedy: “I’m pro-choice, he’s multiple choice.” He ended a recitation of Romney’s ever-spinning opinion changes with “If we give him two more weeks he may vote for me!”
Did I say “ultimate” tear jerk material? Sorry, Teddy, I mean no disrespect to your memory, but Bill Clinton topped you this time, on Wednesday. I can hardly begin to convey the genuine emotions, sharp intelligence and wit, exquisite logic, and the pure inspiration coming from Bill Clinton. Going through the Republican charges against Obama, Clinton spelled out a rebuttal to each, piece by piece. He laid out what they’d said, then insisted we all “Look at what’s really happening,” and he told the truth concerning the budget, the deficit, education, health care, just about every issue that matters. He predicted what a Romney administration would mean to different groups of people, including children with disabilities like autism and Downs Syndrome, and he ended with a firm, utterly believable insistence that “We can’t let it happen!” He brought the audience to their feet, tugging on their hearts until he managed to rekindle the spirit of hope. Bill Clinton has been called The Comeback Kid. He’s the kid who’s got the brass to say “America always comes back,” in a way that makes you believe it’s possible.
At the end of Clinton’s speech Barack Obama came onto the stage and they embraced, a visual linkage of one administration to the other. Clinton’s old rallying song, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” played, then switched to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” the perfect song for Obama and his struggle against the obstructionist Republicans. Obama’s a great speaker, but I’m not sure he’ll top Clinton with his acceptance speech tonight. I’ll tell you what, though: Democrats and Independents, and maybe even a few Republicans, will be rooting for him.
A few media blurbs on Clinton’s speech:
“Bill Clinton came in and beat up the other side.”–Christopher Hayes
“As a Democrat it doesn’t get any better than this.”—Ed Schultz
Part III: Media Coverage (Coming Soon)
- DNC Dispatch: Bill Clinton Shows Dems How it’s Done (wnyc.org)
- Bill Clinton: wonk-in-chief (brite.newsvine.com)