The Boston Whee! Party, otherwise known as the Democratic National Convention, is finally history, and good riddance! No doubt, the same will be said a few weeks from now with regard to the Republican National Convention to be held in New York City. These quadrennial fiascoes serve no purpose, since everything is cut and dried long before anything takes place at the conventions, actually now just venues for fun and games and the waste of millions in expenses for the vacationers.
There was a time when the conventions meant something because decisions were actually made then, decisions as important as the actual selecting of candidates or establishing a platform (whether realistic or not). The silly state-by-state primary system now in use has killed the excitement, even the possibility - or probability - that better candidates could be chosen during the convention. The notion that aspirants to office can be made or broken in small/small-population states like New Hampshire, or in caucuses in Iowa in the middle of winter, blows the mind. Platforms are a no-no because some segment of the population might be offended by same, and political correctness/diversity/multicultualism/inclusiveness/love-and-kisses/warm-fuzzies run the shows. The hugging that marked this convention made the participants look…well…suspect. A simple handshake was once good enough to show friendship or respect, but now one hasn't been duly respected, loved, or even properly hated until he has experienced severe trauma of the rib cage. The "in thing" now is for the candidate to be introduced by his wife, who is introduced by her child(ren), who may be introduced by a grandchild, who, if possible in coming years, will be introduced by the family dog.
Credit the dems for at least the insistence that speakers stick to the time limit and not bask in the usual mind-numbing applause at the slightest inflection of voice, never mind if anything sensible was said. This was necessary because the TV-network biggies have refused to grant more than scant prime-time segments to the process, another indicator that the conventions are useless on the basis that few people care to have their intelligence insulted by the desultory shenanigans of professional politicians. Most speakers seemed to comply, though - predictably - the Rev. Al Sharpton did a lot of basking (voice inflections in almost the dog-ear-tolerance range), using something like 23 minutes instead of the six which he was assigned. With his perspiration flowing freely and threatening to drown the folks in the first row, he ranted and raved and gave the crowd that Tawana Brawley grin. Great theater!
The theme of the convention was Vietnam Redux. Senator Kerry let no opportunity pass in the process of proving his superiority to George Bush on the basis of the amazing exploits of a Lieutenant (JG) in four months and twelve days way back when. To show how much he appreciated all the medals he earned back then, he (depending on his version at any specific time) threw the medals or his ribbons or someone else's ribbons "over the wall" when he got home, to show his disdain for the war effort. The medals seem to be on the wall of his office now, but only the shadow knows. The senator trotted out old "wartime buddies" to solidify his claim to greatness, and the other speakers let it be known in no uncertain terms that Vietnam qualified Kerry. The fallout will be interesting in coming days, as the "diggers" into the records of what actually happened way back when begin to state their findings, some of which already are online and damning. The main reason Kerry had to rely on the Viet vanity was seen in the fact that in his 55-minute speech of acceptance he devoted a mere 26 seconds (or so claimed by some) to his accomplishments in 19 years in the senate, in which august body he is acclaimed as the most liberal.
Kerry's plans for solving Iraq seemed to be a hat-in-hand begging trip to France and Germany (even he's probably given up on the UN) for their advice and help, or permission to even exist, or whatever. It was pretty hard to tell. Neither nation has either the resources or will to do anything but whine, the French especially, since the war has torn up their little Iraqi dollhouse. He claimed we needed to gain respect, as if other countries don't already respect a nation that can move whole military establishments halfway around the world, defeat huge armies, and change things for the better, the better primarily being the safety of U.S. citizens. His sidekick John Edwards, with all the experience of a one-term senator who hasn't been much on the job representing North Carolina for months on end (maybe four years out of six?), reinforced that plan and proceeded to promise the American public everything from a Lexus in everyone's garage to connoisseur pet food for everyone's cat or canary. One thought he surely would promise the moon, too, but he left that out.
I listened to only three speeches all the way through - Gore, Carter, Ron Reagan (one can take just so much) - and snippets of the others, which appeared to be so bland and same-ish that the conclusion had to be that the same person wrote them all, or at least edited them all, lest a spark of originality rear its ugly head or someone mention the (gasp) L-word. Gore was predictable and the best speaker. Carter was good for reminding me of the remarks he made at his grand "Nobel appearance," in which he denigrated his country in a time of war/emergency. Ron Reagan was used, of course, whether he knew it or not, or cared, but at least had a cause, besides trashing Bush, which he also managed to do.
Perhaps the worst travesty of the convention was the trivializing of the honorable Vietnam effort, entirely similar to that of the effort in Korea in the early 50s, by turning it into a political vehicle for blatant opportunism. Kerry and the rest of the head honchos should be ashamed of this. Bona fide heroes (role models) rarely speak of the reason they are what they are. To have attempted to capitalize on an entity as important and sensitive as Vietnam was unconscionable.