Night one in Charlotte

I half expected to see George Bush at the lectern on the first night of the Democrat’s party in Charlotte.

Having received neither an invitation to Tampa nor a single line in any of the speeches given by the Republican faithful, I figured George must have switched parties.

I had intended to tune in to the convention just to hear Michelle.  But I was drawn like a moth to the flame and switched on the Samsung about an hour into the proceedings.  Just in time to visit the PBS booth and hear the incisive Gwen Ifill and the inquisitive Judy Woodruff ask their token Republican, David Brooks, and the ever-frumpy Mark Shields about their impressions of the first day of the convention.

My on-again, off-again love affair with David was tested once more when he said “The only people who’ve been at the lectern are politicians and public servants.  Not a single business leader has been asked to speak.  That should leave little doubt in people’s minds about which party is the party of government.”

 Before David could take a breath, we segued to the convention floor and watched Tammy Duckworth clamber to the podium on two artificial legs she earned piloting a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq.  Tammy expressed her thanks for food stamps and education-supporting Pell Grants as factors that gave her a fair chance of success.

Ted Strickland, former governor of Ohio, talked about ordinary Joes and stridently insisted that government financial support for GM was what kept the auto industry alive in his state.

A now retired twenty year Goodyear employee, Lilly Ledbetter,  was paid less than her male colleagues doing the same job.  Losing her case in the Supreme Court because she had missed a 180 day statute of limitations, she pushed hard for eventual congressional passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

In what was perhaps the most moving moment at the convention, Stacey Lihn, mother of Zoe, a toddler with congenital heart disease praised the Affordable Care Act.  Without it, her daughter’s insurance would have limited out.  With it, Zoe can continue treatments, reminding us that no one should go broke because of illness.

And on it went.  Speaker after speaker talking about a fair chance, a leg up, help when it was most needed.  A stark contrast with the “you’re on your own” mantra featured in Tampa.

And I thought, David, you are absolutely right.  There are no entrepreneurs on the podium.  There are just people there.  People who need government in their lives.  A government that…

Helps the unfortunate

Provides educational opportunities to those who can’t afford it

Delivers healthcare as a right not a privilege

Implements financial reforms and regulations to protect those who can’t protect themselves

Relies less on war and more on seeking non-violent solutions

Provides food to those who would otherwise go hungry

Invests in companies that are the backbone of our economy and that provide jobs to the jobless

Protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority

Relies on women to know what’s best for their own bodies

Protects diversity in how or whether we worship, and disdains a one-size-fits all definition of morality

Insures workplace safety while simultaneously investing in roads, bridges, research and technology

The culmination of the evening was heralded by another government employee, Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio.  Mayor Castro got the biggest cheer of the evening when he credited government aid in his formative years.  “Without it, I’d be holding a mop instead of this microphone.”

The star of the evening, Michelle Obama revitalized her husband’s humanity.

We switched back to the PBS booth.  I swear I saw David’s eyes glisten.  And we both understood why George hadn’t been invited.

6 Responses to “Night one in Charlotte”

  1. 1 Nancy September 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Now that’s the role of government!


  2. 2 Sally September 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Truly a good night in Charlotte! Thank you for your summary. Had you tuned in earlier you’d have seen PBS showing the speech of my pal R.T. Ryback! He was on right before the U.S. Congressman from Colorado who introduced himself as: Jewish, gay, a father, but above all, an American.


  3. 3 Maureen C September 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you Fred, for saying so well what I felt as I watched last night’s DNC. I am forever puzzled by those Americans who see the world so differently. than I do. I try to put myself in their shoes and understand why they are so mean spirited and unfeeling about their fellow man, but I never get it. I don’t understand what they see in a multi millionaire who’s done nothing for the last 6 years but run for President. Just the difference in tone of the speeches from the two conventions says it all in my humble opinion.


  4. 4 Bobbie September 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Love it. Can’t wait to what you have to say about tonight!


  5. 5 Linda J. Zane September 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    It was a two tissue night for me. Great great blog


  6. 6 K September 22, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Didn’t watch either night..couldn’t stand another night of NOTHING.


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