Now that the conventions are over it is time for me to reflect on the candidates. As an independent I tried to watch the conventions with objectivity.
I thought one of the two best speeches of the Republican convention was Ann Romney’s. While I don’t agree with her politics or what she represents, I respect her for battling multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. I identify with women who struggle with debilitating diseases for I have seen the women in my life lose the fight battling breast cancer. The other speaker I liked was Condoleezza Rice. She articulated well the Republican platform: deregulate, cut taxes and drill more oil.
However great speeches by Republicans were few, capped off with the bizarre crescendo by Clint Eastwood. While I agree with some Republican talking points such as self-reliance, God and independence, it seemed like the Republicans were acting like wolves in sheeps’ clothing. One by one, the speakers came up with narratives of growing up in lowly beginnings only to pull themselves up. To hear Ann Romney talk about living in the basement made me turn off the channel and watch the Call of the Wildmen.
Each speaker also bamboozled the flock with lies about our President. The biggest whoppers came from Paul Ryan accusing Obama of closing a plant in Janesville, Wis., and lowering work requirements for welfare (after Republican governors begged him to lower the restrictions.) Bill Clinton served this distortion right back at the Republicans like a Serena Williams’ volley.
What was most glaring about the Republican convention was the complexion and the tone of the Republicans. You couldn’t help but notice the lineup was dominated by white males, with only a few minorities and women spouting anger towards our President. The theme was “Obama isn’t like you. He is not one of us.”
It hard to see how the Republicans convinced anyone that they would be an alternative to the President. They said little about what they would do if they got elected. They advocated less abortion, more deportations and lower taxes for the rich.
It was grotesque seeing the crowd chant “USA!” when speakers promised to cut Medicare, and aid to the poor. As an independent , I wonder how America could let a person twist in the wind because he got old or sick or lost his job.
As veterans say, we don’t leave our wounded behind. The Republican platform not only kicks the wounded but leaves them out to die.
While I was not impressed by Romney, I was only lukewarm toward the Democrats when I first tuned in to their convention. At the outset, it seemed like they were offering the same old liberal rants. It was more abortion, less God and the poor are victims.
When Michelle Obama spoke, however, my cynicism turned to tears because Michelle spoke to me. Her personal narrative about her husband, Barack Obama made me feel guilty about some of the criticism I have written about him. She inspired me. I went from simply hoping he wins to feeling I need to get up and vote for him. Every time I walk by the White House now I feel honored she is there. She is the personification of what a woman should be. Go ahead Mrs. Obama! I love you.
Her speech alone should have inspired everyone but the Democrats didn’t let up. They offered something for everyone. If Michelle Obama did not convince the women, there was also Elizabeth Warren; for minorities there were Julian Castro, Deval Patrick and Emanuel Cleaver. But the main event was Bill Clinton.
Clinton was speaking my language. He reached out to the moderates and independents who are fed up with both parties. In his own Clintonian style, he simplified the intricacies of policy like a maestro who plays the audience with every note. He systematically addressed every argument that the Republicans tried to use against Obama. In the end I felt Bill Clinton talked me out of wanting to commit suicide, or vote for Romney. Who needs money when you have a Bill Clinton in your stable?
The man can inspire a waitress to serve your table.
If that was not enough, there was a fiery speech by John Kerry, then my favorite: Joe Biden, “Scranton Joe”
He beat up on the Republicans like a thug from the projects. It was a combination of tears, compassion and shaming. I don’t know Joe Biden but Joe Biden knows me. I will vote for Obama because I love Joe Biden.
Then President Obama finished them all off with the best line of the show.
“I am the President. “
I cried because those words stood for everything Americans want from Obama. They don’t want handouts. They want someone to give them a hand. I am not voting for Obama because he’s black but I am voting for him because I’m black and I can’t see him being replaced by Richy Rich.
Come election day I will do my duty and vote for Obama.