Whereas last night Michelle Obama was graceful and heart-warming and showed the kinder, gentler side of the Democratic party, tonight we saw a markedly different side – one that FIGHTS back and boy did they ever. Not only was President Bill Clinton his charming, avuncular self but he was also tough and funny and direct and he made the points that have been needed to be made for quite some time. Tonight a bright line was drawn in the sand and it clearly outlined the differences between the parties and their candidates and highlighted the half-truths and the outright lies that have been levied at the American people in the name of partisan politics. “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.” Quote board!!!
Much will be said and written about tonight’s fight in the school yard. There were highs and lows for sure. I thought the Democrats could have done more with small business owners and handled the “Bain Bunch” more effectively in a video presentation rather than having them make some awkward speeches that sounded a little bit whiny.
But let’s talk about what really went down tonight…the darn Fire Marshall shut down the arena just as I was trying to get in and so sadly, on this night of nights, I was stuck in a, shall we say, less than pristine establishment just down the street with a few other disgruntled arena goers who were forced to watch the happenings on the big screen. Talk about a let down! But, it was also an oddly interesting experience. Much like watching a football game, which was also an option at Phil’s New York Deli, (yay Cowboys!) the crowd was cheering on their team over a couple of beers and some nachos. In a country so cynical and apathetic about politics, it’s rare to be in a public space with all the patrons focused on political discourse and policy positions. At a panel discussion I attended today hosted by the JFK Library Foundation, David Gregory commented that the football game contributed quite a bit to the DNC’s decision NOT to have Vice President Biden speak tonight. Apparently the prime time convention coverage was in direct conflict with the Giants/Cowboys game and there was only so much time available.
I guess that says just enough about us as a nation. We’d rather watch football than focus on politics. We know more about the individual yardages completed by quarterbacks than the real impact of proposed changes to Medicare. I know people that can rattle off the mathematics of baseball statistics for the last 50 years but probably couldn’t have an intelligent discussion about our nations’ debt. Our ignorance allows the scoundrels in Washington to continue to hold progress hostage, it fosters more ignorance like the denial of basic scientific facts and some stunning policy positions on women’s healthcare. It makes it easy for people to just plain lie to us on a wide variety of issues that actually really matter.
So, from now until November, maybe we could invite our friends over for “Monday Night Debates”. We could gather at the local watering hole after work to grab a few drinks and watch a little CNN. We could place our bets in Vegas over who we think will win in November and tailgate at the voting booths on November 5. Or, more realistically, perhaps we can take a page from tonight’s play book and realize that these conversations matter and that just like when our favorite team fights back against the odds and lifts the crowd with their heart and skill, we need a great quarterback in order to be a great country. And, ultimately what our quarterback needs is for you and me to cast our vote and start a wave – one of real change in our country.