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First day of the Democratic Convention

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Today I watched the first day Democratic Convention in Denver. While CNN and MSNBC spent much of the day and evening blustering with analysis, C-SPAN televised all speeches, without word-by-word, meaningless analysis or commercials. Hail C-SPAN!

I was particularly taken by long time Republican Jim Leach’s as well as by Michelle Obama’s speech.

Jim Leach is a retired 20-year Republican veteran of the House and still a Republican. But he spoke at the Democratic Convention to give his support to Barack Obama because, in his own words, this country is not only going in the wrong direction under the current Republican administration, but that the Republican party itself has gone in the wrong direction. His party, he said, has lost its way, and Obama was the best presidential hope for this country at this juncture in our history. Obama, he said, would bring this country back to his party’s original values which it has lost over the course of the last eight years or more. He spoke the indictment that many true Republicans fear to speak but think nonetheless.

What is especially significant about Leach’s speech to an all-Democratic convention is that he confirmed for the viewing audience that even long time Republicans see that this country is derailed…and that McCain will not get it back on track.

The major networks failed to cover his speech, so busy were they in talking and analyzing amongst themselves, that they failed to recognize the significance of who he is and what he said. When a major career Republican endorses a Democratic Presidential candidate because he believes that opposition party candidate embodies the best views, beliefs, character, ability, knowledge, and intellectual substance, you have to know that something is significantly wrong with the Republican candidate and the Republican Party as a whole as well as its policies.

Michelle Obama’s speech too affected me. I’m not one who tears easily, but I found myself emotionally affected by her speech. She spoke to my heart as well as my mind. She spoke to my own travails and triumphs as well as those of my brothers and parents. She spoke to me of the all I thought and believed as an American who grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I recognized myself and my family in her middle class, blue-collar story, even though I came from a white, middle class, military family. Regardless of the exterior, even racial, differences, I saw myself and my family in her stories. I saw my own parents hopes that my brothers and I would achieve college educations and make more of our lives than they had. I also saw my hopes and my fears and my desires for a better world…for a better America. An America where not only the ultra rich succeed, but an America in which everyone, even the most modest or poor, can make his or her dreams come true. An America where any boy or girl can dream of becoming President and succeed. That is the America in which I became an adult. That is the America I again long for and dream about.

As I watched the audience respond to her, I saw more than one person sniff back or wipe tears from their cheeks. I wasn’t alone in that emotional lump in my chest. However, it wasn’t just what she said, it was how she said it: her belief in what she said. I don’t think anyone could have watched her give her opening day, keynote speech without being affected…and believing that Barack Obama is the best candidate for the office of President. If they did watch unaffected, they must have stones in place of hearts.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow…and what comes next!


Written by Valerie Curl

August 26, 2008 at 7:43 AM

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