Something About Conventions

I watched portions of both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Why, you ask? Why pay attention to hours of speechifying and posturing and scripted political the-ater?

Well, why not?

If you’re interested at all in what’s going to happen in November, the conventions were a pretty good way to kickstart your involvement.You got a look at the spouses and heard all about why they love their guy and why you should, too. (As a side benefit you got to critique their wardrobe). I will vote for the candidate, not the spouse, but Ann Romney and Michelle Obama – articulate, smart, beautiful and committed – both did their men proud.

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama at the conclusion of Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. AP Photo

It was fun to evaluate and grade the speeches of the supporters for content and entertainment value.

If you were really lucky, you tuned in just in time to gawk in amazement as Clint Eastwood addressed an invisible President Obama. He even sparked a new Internet meme – #eastwooding – during which Twitter was inundated with pictures of people and animals gesturing to empty chairs.

President Bill Clinton gave the longest, wonkiest, funniest, most on-point speech in convention history. I loved it.

I’m a Democrat, and you all know it, but I’m not going to level a lot of criticism or praise at one side or another. I will comment, though, on one of the most glaring contrasts between the two conventions. The Democratic National Convention was multi-hued and incredibly, reassuringly, overwhelmingly diverse. The Republican convention was … well … not. The difference was stark.

So the conventions were entertaining. Sometimes riveting. And they were dead serious in their intent.

Nowadays there is no drama or mystery surrounding who will be the official nominees. That’s already been determined before the arena lights fire up. The real purpose of the modern political convention is to sell the hell out of the candidate – to get the base excited and to persuade the relatively few undecideds to commit. It’s theater, sometimes theater of the absurd, but if it engages emotions and captures hearts, then it has done what it’s supposed to do. Both sides put on their best shows in their efforts to get us to care enough to vote.

Now it’s up to us. We have a few weeks left before it’s time to cast our ballots. Time enough to pay attention and do our homework. There are three debates scheduled for October.

I can’t wait to see the president and Gov. Romney go head-to-head on the issues.

I know a few people who say they won’t vote. They believe politics is crap and all politicians are corrupt and drunk with power. They think none of it matters. They think their votes don’t really count.

What a hopeless, useless waste of citizenship. What a slap in the face to democracy. Our country is better than that, and if you don’t think it is, then do something about it. Work to make it better. America deserves nothing less than our passion, devotion and commitment. So pay attention to this election.

And come November, please, please vote.