Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted-or at least, most of the time.
It was Barack Obama's night. The purpose of the Democratic Convention is not just to promote the candidacy of Kerry and Edwards. It is to promote the party that they hope to lead for the next four years. A party that is hoped will rise again, have a shot at winning one or both houses of Congress sooner than later. This is why it is so organized, on message, and trying to seize themes stereotypically Republican. Obama, the likely winner of the open Illinois Senate seat, provided the way to do it. Too bad the networks decided sitcoms and the like was more worth our time. I myself heard it on the radio, my television spotty because of rain.
An important theme in this election is faith and values. And these need not to be a particularly religious concept per se, in the sense of a belief in a specific god or organized faith. In fact, often "faith" is not deistic at all. For instance, how often do family members say "I have faith in you"? It is belief in principles, ideals, and other things too. A valuable thing to have in this country. Amy Sullivan in that sense was somewhat off base in her comments, as the response suggests. It is faith not only in God, but:
in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted-or at least, most of the time.
The military is an important theme in this election too, for obvious reasons, including Kerry's history (though the "band of brothers" bit is getting a bit tiring after a while). It is the Democratic Party with the message that: "When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world." And, still realize there are enemies that will be pursued and must be defeated.
And, yes there are limits to what government can do:
The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon.
Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems.
Still, there is a lot the government can do to help them, to truly give them a fighting chance. A government not led by those who wish to cynically divide the nation. No, we should have one that offers the "audacity of hope." He might have laid it on a bit thick, but this is a pretty good closing:
I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. ... [T]his country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.