Punch-drunk on Democrats: Convention #1

Before anyone calls partisan bias, let me assure you this blog has some excellent programming planned for the Grand Old Party’s party, too–but the Dems are up first, and I am hooked. Okay, so we’re not going to talk about last night, which was pretty damn pareve, Senator Kennedy aside. I’d much rather talk about tonight.

But first, an aside: I’m sitting here watching convention coverage alone, because my girlfriend just can’t stand this kind of coverage. She says it’s just rhetoric, rhetoric, propaganda, rhetoric. It’s certainly a fraught watching experience, and I’ll cop to being a difficult person to watch it with. And she’s entirely right–it’s intense, with a lot of in-your-face repetition–the key phrases become clear very quickly–and language that manages to be both charged and totally meaningless.

And yet, I’m addicted. You have to dig below the surface, a little, understand the symbols and the codes to what’s going on, and you also have to be able to follow the rapid fire patterns of rhetoric, commentary, commentary on the commentary, all of it circular and self-referential. Essentially, I think it’s possible that what I feel for the Democratic Convention is what some folks feel about Talmud study. I don’t know if that means that I should give Talmud a try, but it certain adds a nice veneer to my news addiction.

Anyway, the convention has really picked up tonight. (Can I channel Rebecca for a moment to note that almost all the funny lines have gone to women?) I’m surprised but pleased to see a frequent reference to the economic benefits of a “green economy.” And I was pleased beyond measure to see that the people on stage have represented many aspects of a real America.

I’m writing this before Senator Clinton speaks, because I can’t trust myself to be in writing shape afterwards. I have spent months assuring most people that there is no way that there are “Clinton Democrats” who won’t vote for Obama–and vehemently denying that this is an issue among women in particular. Convention-floor interviews with delegates have shaken that belief, and I can’t help but feel a little frantic. It’s the DNC, folks. We’re all Democrats.

When you hear rhetoric about equal wages for equal pay, about using green jobs to regrow our national economy, improving our educational system, about giving tax breaks to middle class families and making big business accountable for their actions–if you hear that, and it stirs you, then why let pettiness hold those ideals back?

Ted Kennedy struck a lovely note last night as he spoke glowingly of our potential for “renewal.” Renewal is a concept that I can’t help but think of as Jewish, especially at this tome of year, when the High Holidays are starting to peak their heads over the horizon.

So let us renew, and remember our many trailblazers, and celebrate our ideals. In the meantime, I’m going back to my “studying.”

–Mel Weiss

UPDATE: Man, Clinton cleared the fence with that one, critics be damned. In honor of that whopper, enjoy another Convention show-stopper from our illustrious past.

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