The Democrats End with a Bang!

Basking in the Adulation of the Audience

  Drawing a Line in the Sand

Like a broken clock that is right twice a day Joe Scarborough, a partisan Republican, got it right when he said the Democratic Convention had better speakers, a more enthusiastic audience, and a even better band that played better songs. Yet the speakers rightly stole the show.  They were all good at the art of oratory, but the content of their message was even better.

Given the number of black preachers among the Democrats they will always win the oratorical contest, but their message sometimes miss the mark.  Often  this is because of the ignorance of the electorate; which is the only explanation for how their message can fail to touch the hearts and sway the minds of a majority of Americans in the present campaign.

Confronted with an embarrassment of riches in the treasure trove of speakers, I shall confine my comments to the three whose messages best define the differences between the presidential candidates of the Democrats and the Grand Obstructionist Party in their ideology and policy objectives.  Senator John Kerry – whom many observers predict will be the next Secretary of State if Hillary Clinton retires the role – gave a compelling speech on foreign policy.  The Senator summed the differences up in a nutshell.

“In this campaign, we have a fundamental choice. Will we protect our country and our allies, advance our interests and ideals, do battle where we must and make peace where we can? Or will we entrust our place in the world to someone who just hasn’t learned the lessons of the last decade?  We’ve all learned Mitt Romney doesn’t know much about foreign policy. But he has all these “neocon advisors” who know all the wrong things…He would rely on them – after all he is the great outsourcer. But I say to you: This is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief.” 

Kerry then spoke to the challenges that confront our nation in the 21st century, and addressed the bogus concept of “American Exceptionalism” promoted by the Republicans.

“Our opponents like to talk about ‘American exceptionalism,’ but all they do is talk. They forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things. We break out of the Great Depression, win two world wars, save lives fighting AIDS, pull people out of poverty, defend freedom, go to the moon—and produce exceptional people who even give their lives for civil rights and human rights.

Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet. That is a responsibility from the Scriptures—and that too is a responsibility of the leader of the free world. The only thing exceptional about today’sRepublicans is that—almost without exception—they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place. An exceptional nation demands the leadership of an exceptional president. ” 

Senator Kerry concluded with this observation,” Mitt Romney says he “believes in America” and he’ll restore “American Exceptionalism.” I have news for him: We already have an exceptional American as president—and we believe in Barack Obama!”

Then Vice President Joe Biden gave us a deeply personal look at who President Obama really is behind the scenes, building upon the compelling portrait presented by the First Lady on opening night. His testimony about how the President made decisions regarding the monumental problems confronting the nations as things were falling apart was powerful.  “Folks, I’ve watched him. He never wavers. He steps up. He asks the same thing over and over again: How is this going to work for ordinary families? Will it help them? And because of the decisions he’s made, and the strength the American people have demonstrated every day, America has turned the corner.”

And Biden reports that the President shows the same calm resolve as Commander in Chief.  Consider his description of how the President made his decision to take out Osama bin Laden. “We sat for days in the Situation Room. He listened to the risks and reservations about the raid. And he asked the tough questions. But when Admiral McRaven looked him in the eye and said– “Sir, we can get this done,” I knew at that moment Barack had made his decision. His response was decisive. He said do it. And justice was done.”

If he were not such a creep, one would be compelled to feel sorry for Mitt Romney, whose warm up speakers talked as if they were launching their presidential campaigns for 2016.  Not so with President Obama.  By the time the President took the stage the preceding speakers had painted a poignant portrait of him that created the impression of a truly extraordinary man, and his introduction by the first lady touched the souls of the audience.

A master of the art of oratory, his performance lived up to its billing.  Instead of delivering a wonky manifesto as many experts thought he should, he President bared his soul before the nation.  He spoke of his hopes and dreams for America, reminded us of the good deeds he had done and assured us that there would be more in the future if we should elect him to another term.  He drew sharp distinctions between his vision for America and the world, and that of Mitt Romney.  He made it clear that electing Mitt Romney would be a dangerous gamble that could undo all the good he had done, at home and abroad.

While there are those nerdy nitpickers who think it important to argue about such things as the degree of lyricism and soaring rhetoric in this speech, as opposed to the President’s other convention speeches; I regard such concerns as a fool’s errand.  For in the end, what matters about a speech is whether you get your message out and how it is received by the audience.

Unlike Romney, who was received by many Republicans like skunk at a dinner party, the Democratic delegates loved Barack Obama and hung onto his every word.  They laughed, they cried, they cheered, and they left fortified and fired up for the coming fight.  Hence by any meaningful measure, this was a great speech!

 Giving the troops their Marching Orders

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 7, 2012

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