The Democrats wrapped up their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., last night and I’m glad it’s over. Was I overwhelmed by the speeches? No. Good ol’ Joe Biden used his “arithmetic” to cut down the Republicans, and did a good, if overly long job of it. He sounded convincing but, as with the GOP and all politicians, “figures can lie and liars can figure.” It’s up to the listener to sort out the sources, do the math, and decide who to believe. And although he was rather long-winded, I think he was more convincing than the president, perhaps because he got into more specifics.
And for the record, I can’t stand what Biden seems to think is a cool slogan: “Osama bin Laden is dead; General Motors is alive.”
I noticed other things, like how diverse the audience was. It looked like all races and all ages were amply represented — in stark contrast to the Republican convention. The president’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, have grown a lot since I last noticed or paid attention. I hardly recognized them. And one particular sign: Women will remember in November.
There were two highlights for me. The first was Gabby Giffords leading the Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn’t easy for her and I’ve no doubt she practiced long and hard. It’s a wonder she was there at all. She looked proud of herself when she finished, and justifiably so.
The other highlight was Sandra Fluke, the young attorney who spoke out in Washington for women’s rights to birth control, and was called a slut by Rush Limbaugh for doing so. Her comments were brief, but her words, more than any others I heard, stuck with me. In describing the America we could choose in November, she said:
… An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women….
As much as anything else, that describes for me the difference between Obama and Romney, between the Democrats and Republicans. When a women is attacked — in any way — is your first thought of empathy and concern, or is it of your own political position? When anyone in this country is attacked or in trouble, is your first concern their well-being or your own?
And don’t try to tell me, as the GOP is trying to do, that this is a “just” a social issue and that national economic concerns are more important. For women, health and reproductive care is an economic issue. Abortion is an economic issue. Health care is an economic issue.
In any case, with both conventions over, it’s now a two-month sprint to the finish line. And if you don’t happen to live in a swing state … count your blessings.