Friday, August 29, 2008

Denver DNC

In case you have somehow managed to avoid T.V., internet, radio, or the water cooler in the last couple of days, the Democratic National Convention was held in Denver this week. The full media blitz descended upon our fair city, and we were invaded by delegations of people from all over the country. At the beginning of this week I wanted to do a post that went into the history of the convention and poke fun at both parties, especially the seriously effed up views and policies of the republicans and the magnanimous attitudes of the democrats. However, as I watched the convention progress I started to see something. All I expected to see was a laundry list of democratic big-hitting senators, members of congress, military generals, governors, community leaders, actors, musicians, authors, etc. espousing the democratic American dream and crying foul against the tenets of the republican view while waving plastic flags and engaging in the back patting, glad handing, baby holding B.S. that I hate about politics today. That is actually what I did see, but there was something else that I noticed over the course of the week that culminated in an awesome speech from Barack Obama. Something that gave me a glimmer of hope for the fall election. I noticed that the democratic party has become a united force. They have rolled up their sleeves and are ready for a fight, and they have a candidate that I believe in. I certainly hope that they are equal to the task, and I hope that the American people see that a change is necessary.

I hope I don’t have to convince anyone that things can’t continue the way that they have been going in the Rove years. I think I can sum up the last eight years in one word: aaaahhhhrrrrrrrrgggggghhh! It’s certainly easy enough to rip on GW (and it’s great fun), but the past administration has certainly been a dismal failure for this country and the world. There has been a long, long list of squandered opportunities and resources.

I will give you one obvious example without burning the Rove, Bush, Cheney machine in effigy. Look at the response to the events of September 11, 2001. We all know what the knee-jerk reaction was: “Great! Let’s bomb some brown people!” I felt the same way. People lined up by the millions to volunteer and offer to help in any way that they could. They donated funds and services. The nation was galvanized against a clear enemy. The response to that outpouring of civic duty and American pride was to engage in a show of force against a country that wasn’t even involved in the incident. We invaded Iraq and took so many of the people that volunteered, turned them into soldiers, and displaced them from their families and our economy. We’re still mired in that conflict today, spending over 10 billion dollars a month and driving our country further into debt. O.K, now imagine what could have happened if we had elected a leader with just a little bit of intelligence. Imagine if, instead of picking up the gauntlet that was thrown at our feet by the group that crashed those planes into the WTC, that we just kicked the gauntlet aside. Imagine if instead of a show of military force, we decided to react with a show of intelligence and ingenuity. Imagine a leader that had the nuts to say to a galvanized nation that instead of running off to war we will instead put all of our resources towards the goal of energy independence from the Middle East in ten years. Similar to the challenge that issued by JFK to reach the moon in the 60’s this could have been the start of a new era. All of the volunteers that became soldiers should have become scientists and engineers. All of the resources that went to the war should have gone towards research and scholarships. We should have built a National Center for Energy Independence on the site of ground zero. The force of our nation could have been applied to actually solve the problem and better the world rather than propagate a military invasion that has turned out to be a near total waste of resources. How far would we have been now, seven years later? I guarantee that we could have come up with a mass produced electric vehicle, gas to liquids plants, desalination facilities, clean coal, and renewable energy technologies with 10 billion dollars a month over ten years. Now, I’m not suggesting that a democratic president (Al Gore at the time) would have had the huevos to do that, but I don’t think that having a third term of Bush ideals is going to get us anywhere.

O.K., one more quick shot. Under the Clinton administration in the 90’s the nation underwent an unprecedented economic and social boom. We had the best economy the U.S. has seen in modern history. Wages went up, and unemployment dropped. More people owned homes than ever before in American history, and poverty was down. The stock market was up, and crime rates were the lowest in 40 years. Progress toward peace was being made in strife-torn areas like Ireland, the Balkans, and the Middle East which knew bitter conflict dating back decades, even centuries. Prosperity and respect. The Bush administration and the republican congress have negated every one of those positives, taken a huge national surplus and turned it into an insurmountable national debt. You don’t have to perform any partial differential equations to figure out that these are not good things.

It really is time for a change, and the democrats are at least wagging that dog. The republicans aren’t even pretending that things are going to be different (if you set aside the purely political nomination of a fresh-faced female governor from Alaska). If you don’t think that the dems are going to effect any change in Washington then look at it this way. A mere ten presidential elections ago Barack Obama, their candidate, wouldn’t have even been allowed into the building at the convention. The fact that their candidate is black is by definition change. And, as Obama said in his acceptance speech: “Change doesn’t come from Washington. Changes comes to Washington.” What’s more is that for the first time since I have been old enough to vote, there is actually a presidential candidate that I believe. I hope that the fire that was lit under the democrats at the DNC here in Denver will last until they reach Washington in November, because I’m beginning to lose what little faith I had in the public’s ability to think rationally and make educated decisions. Maybe I’m just getting old and grouchy, or maybe I actually care this time around. It's probably both, I think.


Hippy said...

Redneck, I agree wholeheartedly. One point though, Palin is, as you stated, a political appointment. However, so is Biden, and so were Chaney, and Edwards etc. The Dems are going to need to use politics to effect change, not shy away from it in the name of change. I am also quite excited by the prospect of a bit more thought going into who we bomb.

jewels said...