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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughts on the Convention

If you are like me, you spent at least a few minutes over the last couple of days watching the Democratic National Convention.

Rather than get into the specifics of what the various commentators, politicians, candy vendors, and anyone else who had an invitation to be part of the program had to say, I want to focus on the participants.

A defining moment for me came Thursday night at Invesco Field when Stevie Wonder was singing his great song, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," a favorite of Michelle Obama.

But it was not the music. It was the crowd. One of the cameras showed a small group of Sikh men, in their turbans, with American flags, movin' and groovin' to Stevie's music.

Why did this catch my attention? Because all around these guys were others just like them. Men and women, old and young, who were not just white. Crowded into the arena were people from every hue and color of God's rainbow. It looked to me like America. The melting pot imagery that we have frequently used to describe our country.

Whether you agree with all the politics of the Dems or not, you have to ask why it is that in this increasingly pluralistic society that is America, one party seems to be much more comfortable living within that diversity.

Comments on "Thoughts on the Convention"

 

Blogger Patrick M said ... (10:38 AM) : 

Have to disagree with that assertion.

There are people in both parties that specialize in using racial, ethnic, and cultural division to gain power. Some of it is just the ages of the crowd. The younger generations are less focused on these divisions than the elder generations who were raised with it.

As both parties (and the Democrats do better at showcasing this) bring out the younger generations, you'll see the same plurality we saw at the Barackopolis on Thursday.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:45 AM) : 

However Patrick, I watched the McCain event today, and I did not see anywhere near the diversity in the audience that I saw in Denver.

Are you saying that the GOP appears less diverse because of the ages of their participants?

 

Anonymous Gordon Mallon said ... (1:33 PM) : 

A little bit off topic, but I have been wondering lately how Senator McCain's, "Nobody likes a popular candidate" attack adds are playing. To suggest that because someone is able to inspire great throngs of people he is unsuited to the presidency seems silly to me. Yet I don't hear a lot of analysis on this point(I listen to plenty).

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:39 PM) : 

I did hear or read a small commentary on this. Outside of the GOP right wing blogs, they were pretty dismissive of the view, and for the reasons you pointed out.

Hope all is well Gordon, I missed seeing you when I was up there.

 

Blogger Patrick M said ... (8:40 AM) : 

Dave: It's partially age. But after I dropped that comment, another thought struck me. Part of the problem for pretty much my lifetime is that the GOP has always been perceived as the "old, white guy" party. Strangely, it was among Democrats in the 50'a and 60's that the fight against equality was led. But the perception of the GOP became that of the "rich" which is echoed by many of the liberal blogs (not yours) incessantly. And being that achieving equality from inequality takes time (or is forced by bad legislation), the percentage of "rich Republicans" who are not "old white guys" has taken time to adjust.

Essentially, it's a myth and stereotype that will take years to eliminate. But look at Dee's blog for example, and her three conservative preferences over time for McCain's VP slot: JC Watts (black), Bobby Jindall (Indian descent), and Sarah Palin. Admittedly, part of the underlying motivation for these picks is to bring diversity to the GOP, but that's secondary to their conservative creds. If they didn't measure up there, they wouldn't be considered.

To quote (from memory) someone who had it right in his speech:

"We are not a red America or a blue America; we are the United States of America."

The GOP doesn't generally consider diversity first because they offer ideas (sort of) that don't depend on the things that divide us.

Hope that clarifies it a little more.

Also, to clarify the ads, the message is not that Obama is unqualified because he's popular, it's best summarized by the tagline the GOP tacked onto the Democrat convention: "A Mile High and an Inch Deep." The argument is that he lack substance, which he avoided in most of his speeches up to the convention.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:15 AM) : 

How did he do, in your opinion on the substance thing at the convention?

 

Blogger Patrick M said ... (1:31 PM) : 

The speech drifted into more familiar, liberal territory. He has yet to get really specific, but I heard some of the common liberal offerings, like the middle class tax cut, more money for more teachers, more jobs for Americans instead of shipping them overseas. For a Democrat convention speech, it touched on all the necessities to please the party loyal and visuals the GOP has no hope of equaling. It was more meat and potatoes than he normally does, and a far cry from his keynote address.

Although, on a personal level, I could just hear the cha-ching of the taxman raking in the money to grow the government more than Bush did.

 

Blogger Dee said ... (1:37 PM) : 

I just did a post on Sarah Palin's experience and thought you might be interested.

 

Blogger Bullfrog said ... (12:00 PM) : 

Man, sorry I missed this discussion!

patrick m pretty much summed up what I am thinking. As a matter of principle, you focus your efforts on what you think is best for the country, and if those that respond are ethnically and culturally diverse: bonus!

I also disagree with the basic premise that the Republican Party is living up to it's false reputation. I believe the "old white guy" thing is an easy way for democrats to alienate anyone who isn't on their side and pat themselves on the back.

I am white, but I am not old (yet), and I know alot of conservatives that are neither. LOL, I just had a thought: what happens to young, hipster, male Democrats when they get old? Are they sent to the other side like an Eskimo on a glacier?

 

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