States Visited

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Convention(al) Wisdom

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unless there is absolutely nothing else on television and I can't come up with a root canal, prostate exam, IRS audit or sewer to clean, I'm not likely to watch any of the political conventions. I am an equal opportunity ignorer, though. I won't watch either one. I will, however, read the texts of the major speeches (turning a several hour ordeal into a few minute one) and give my thoughts and observations along the way.

I did not watch Michelle Obama's speech last night because, well, I had better things to do. But I did read it this morning. Actually, I figured out a long time ago that it is much better to read convention speeches than to hear it in real time. The never ending interruptions for applause and cheers makes it hard to follow what the person is actually saying. The same is true for State of the Union Addresses.

It was a nice speech, I guess. She's pretty much got the whole how-to-talk-and-not-really-say-anything bit figured out. It is my understanding that a speech like hers is supposed to be an introduction, a coming out party of sorts for the potential first lady, and isn't really a 'political' speech. I tried to keep that in mind.

So, she starts the speech with an introduction to her family. Fair enough. Standard operating procedure. She talks about meeting her husband and getting to know him. He's dreamy, apparently. (Yawn.) How lovely. My God, the first few minutes of these things are always the same. FINALLY, we are finished with the introductions…

"We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he (Barack) urged us to believe in ourselves – to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be."

Well, that seems innocent enough. But… The first thing that comes to mind is how is she defining fairness? Her husband has a long voting history of defining fair as equality of outcome not equality of opportunity. The second question that comes to mind is what exactly is this 'world as it should be' that she and her husband are working to achieve? What does that world look like? How does it operate? Hitler, Lenin and Mao had visions for the 'world as it should be.' too. So did Jefferson, Washington, Adams, and Lincoln. Those are loaded words and can mean anything.

"…Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters – and sons – can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher."

I realize she is trying to throw a bone to the Clintons and I am being a little nit-picky here just for fun, but 'cracks in the glass ceiling'? Seriously? That is the best compliment she could offer? Okay, probably, but I think that is a stretch by any standard of measure. Hillary Clinton married a guy that became a governor and then a President. She may have been his closest advisor, nevertheless, all she did was ride his coattails (along with a well placed move to a politically friendly state) into a Senate seat. If I ever have a daughter I sincerely hope that her idea of breaking through the glass ceiling is not marrying well. But, I digress.

"…Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again."

Apparently her definition of people that work hard and work long hours excludes anyone that gets paid well for doing it? I work hard and I work long hours, how exactly is raising my taxes every chance you get fighting for me? Oh, she did add that qualifier at the end (face long odds and need someone on their side) in an attempt to narrow it down a little. I just don't have any idea what that means.

"All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be."

There's that phrase again. "…world as it should be."

Pardon me, Michelle, but could you help me with this?

"Barack will finally bring the change we need."

So, Barack is going to "bring the change we need."

Okay, we could use a little change, I think. But change to what?

"The world as it should be."

Um, we are going in circles, could you be more specific?

"We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like."

Well, would you mind telling the rest of us what you think it looks like and how you are going to do that?

"…build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America."

What do you mean by "build an economy"?

Is that what our government should be doing? Building our economy? I don't remember seeing that in the Constitution as a job of the government. How does a government go about doing that anyway?

Health care is already available to everyone, so what do you really mean? Affordable? How does a government go about making anything affordable? Is that the job of the President or Congress? To set or control prices. I'm absolutely positive that's not in the Constitution.

A world class education "from preschool to college" for "every child in this nation"? Whether they want it or not or just for the ones that do? Is that going to be some new federal department or agency? What happens to the states? Either way, I'm pretty sure that's not in the Constitution either, but I do remember another document that contains those ideas. I think I see a pattern here.

Hey, who's going to pay for all of this? And, are you sure the federal government should be doing it? Whatever happened to "ask not what your country can do for you"?

"…I believe that each of us – no matter what our age or background or walk of life – each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation."

Oh, I guess this is the "what you can do for your country" part.

"…one day…your sons and daughters will tell their own children about what we did together in this election… How this time, in this great country…we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be."

I hate to be a pest, but did you say "the world" again? That's the fifth time you've said that. It hasn't been too long ago that your husband greeted a crowd in Germany as "a fellow citizen of the world" and talked about answering "our destiny…(to) remake the world once again." What's with all this "world" business?

Hello? Hellooooo?

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