Second Night Of Democratic Convention Aims For Heart Of Nation As Biden Formally Nominated

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If the first night of the Democratic National Convention left me feeling underwhelmed, given the decades of convention coverage our nation has long known, the second night of the virtual programming punched the right emotional chords and struck the perfect notes.  With the human side of Joe Biden being presented and the creative roll call of states being shown the night was a lift for the nation.  Our next First Lady Jill Biden, connected with those yearning for normalcy in our country.  And for politicos keeping score of the messaging the nation’s suburban women were sent a powerful spokesperson directly into their living rooms.

I was also pleased that restoring the country’s traditionally assertive role in foreign policy was a theme tonight—and it meshed with a post I wrote earlier today about Belarus and the need for American leadership to be restored on the world stage.

And for this decades-long admirer and supporter of Biden, it was finally the night that his dream of being nominated as the standard-bearer of our party came true.  It was an emotional moment!  There will be more as this week continues and then a massive sea of emotion that we all will partake in on Election Night as he is elected.

The real people from all walks of life who took part in the roll call was pitch-perfect as these were Biden’s people….the average-type men and women who make the nation productive and care about our future.  Jobs, health care, education, and the environment were all underscored from coast to coast by folks who like you and me–the ones who mirror the nation.  Next week at the Republican Convention it will be white and sterile.

I found myself applauding and doing fist-bumps in the air as the roll call took place and as Colin Powell spoke.  I adore Jimmy Carter and only wish it had been possible to see both him and Rosalyn share their words via video.  His character is so solid and this will likely be his final presidential season.  There was somber appreciation at our home for the video featuring John McCain.  And when it comes to delivering the words of practical politics, even when time is constrained, none does it better than Bill Clinton.  He proved that once again this evening.

The emotional video leading up to the words from Jill was so expertly crafted and toned that is was impossible not to cry.  But as I watched with one political ‘eye’ looking at the production I also knew the story, in and of itself, was so personal and gripping that nothing more than truth was needed for the film to succeed.

Though I still have some issues with the way the overall production of the convention ‘looks’ I am very pleased how the second night of the convention felt.  It was average Americans speaking about our future.

And nominating one of our own to lead to the way.

Reflections On Virtual Democratic Convention–Night One

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What we are witnessing with the virtual Democratic National Convention this week, and the Republican one to follow next is a necessity given the COVID-19 pandemic.  While watching the opening night speakers and video clips I thought more than once to what Teddy White would write if alive and able to follow the proceedings.

The famed author of The Making of the President series and a convention analyst for NBC News would mesh the messages of the speakers with the voters which need to be wooed in swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  But then he would doubtless say that will be harder to do this year with a  virtual convention.  Before one can be wooed they have to turn in for the broadcast.

The rationale for such a method of conducting this year’s party business is obvious, but so too is the fact that there could have been more finesse and heed paid to the production of the show.  Granted there can be no balloons or floor demonstrations for this person or that cause.  But some well-placed ‘bumper’ music with patriotic flourish and seconds of video with our proud standard bears from decades past could have ushered in the next speaker.  Almost any attempt to enliven the show would have been useful.

Why actress Eva Longoria needed to be in Los Angeles, with the city named at the top of the screen, as opposed to taking the backdrop and star to Milwaukee or Pittsburg was seriously flawed.  It will be interesting to see if they make the same blunder on night two.

The Nielson ratings showed that viewership last night fell roughly 25 percent from 2016.  About 19.7 million people watched the proceedings on TV while four years ago about 26 million people tuned in for the Democrats’ first night in Philadelphia.

While watching Monday I had to chuckle to myself that mom would have been distraught had this convention taken place in 1976.

I recall how excited I was that summer for the political conventions to get underway.    I was coming into my own with an interest in politics, and with wall-to-wall coverage on the networks with the likes of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, and Bob Schieffer there was no end to the excitement and real-time civics lesson to he had.  I was just then starting my admiration for Teddy White.  That summer I can still hear mom telling others that the conventions kept me ‘occupied” which seemed a nicer way of saying it kept me quiet.

While I am truly excited about Joe Biden, being a supporter of his since 1987, applauding him along all the years, he deserved a better production team for his convention.  While Michelle Obama was truly on-spot for the major address of the night the lead up to her shining moment was lackluster.

Let us hope for something much stronger tonight for production values!

American Leadership Missing Over Belarus, Another Reason To Vote For Biden

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When it comes to the many reasons I am voting for Joe Biden as the next president the top tier has to do with international relations.  Over the past week, the lack of verbal commitment from Donald Trump regarding the yearning of the Belarus people to be unshackled from the authoritarian regime of President Lukashenko’s regime has been most troubling.  The lack of leadership from the White House, at the time when “Europe’s last dictator” is being pressed severely by his own people, underscores what is wrong in our nation.

Trump today said he would talk to Russia “at the appropriate time” in the wake of protests against Belarus’ leader.  That statement alone provides all one needs to know about which person on the world stage is calling the shots.  We well understand that Trump likes autocratic images and strongmen.  He fashions himself to be one.

But the people of Belarus need to have a President of the United States who can stand on the world stage and state (without first needing to consult with his puppet master) that the official election results this month in Belarus were flagrantly fraudulent.  Then he needs to call for the unconditional release of all detained demonstrators followed by new elections.  

There is no need to equivocate or consult with Putin.  American leadership needs to be restored on the world stage.  And it must be done with strength and conviction as showing weakness and timidity in these geopolitical confrontations only allows for more of the same from the world’s rouge leaders.  We can assist the forces for change without engaging Russia.  

Russia is hell-bound to have Belarus under their thumb in some fashion but the call for freedom from the people connects with our ideals.  We must not abandon them as they are seeking what we claim we desire for others.

American leadership has been missing on the world stage for the past four years, and we must again align ourselves with the international community which understands democratic forces are the way forward.  Autocratic regimes and illiberal democracy are undermining the progress of the past.

That must come to an end.

Ryman Auditorium Gets Major News Coverage From CBS Sunday Morning

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In late June, theRyman Auditorium – a Nashville landmark for more than 125 years, and one-time home to the Grand Ole Opry – reopened for tours after closing due to COVID-19. CBS Correspondent Mark Strassmann looks at the history of the Ryman, which has hosted not just country musicians but also legends of folk, rock and hip hop; and talks with some of the artists (including Sheryl Crow and Ketch Secor, of Old Crow Medicine Show) who have graced its stage.

The 19th Amendment 100 Years Later…The Work Continues For Voting Rights

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News shows and newspapers are making a play today for attention surrounding the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which secured voting rights for women.  Make no mistake the passage of that amendment is mighty historic and vitally important.

But like so much of how history is taught, as Paul Harvey might say, there needs to be ‘the rest of the story’.  The quick version taught in high schools is that women worked long and hard to attain the most precious right one can have and use in a democracy.  But the quick story is not the whole story.  As a history buff, I am often dismayed at the lack of depth and insight taught about our past, and therefore a large segment of the nation has no understanding of the larger circumstances of the country.  Simply put, the 19th Amendment was but a start.

States could use poll taxes and other voter suppression tactics — already used across the country to deny voting rights to Black men — to keep Black women from voting. They could, and did, use those same tactics against Latina women. Indigenous women and many Asian American women lacked citizenship in 1920, meaning they couldn’t vote in the first place. All in all, the 19th Amendment was essentially for one group of women and one group only: white women.

That was by design. White suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton may have championed equality for women, but in practice, they often meant women like themselves. And in the drive to get states to ratify the 19th Amendment, white advocates wanted the support of Southern white women — and their husbands and fathers — and were willing to sacrifice Black Americans’ voting rights in order to get it. They were also willing to set aside the rights of Native American and Asian American women, even though they sometimes invited these women to appear at events as a way to build interest in their movement.

I am thoroughly enjoying reading These Truths by Jill Lepore (presently at the end of WWII) as it is a book where the totality of history is allowed to be dived into, and it is not always, as so many others books attest, the sugary narrative taught in public schools.  The women’s movement was not always the best higher light.

CNN made the point in their reporting this week.

While Frederick Douglass, a noted Black abolitionist, orator and writer attended, Black women weren’t present at Seneca Falls — but their voices and perspectives on women’s rights, which for them necessarily included the abolition of slavery, are part of the long history of suffrage activism as well. Both interracial cooperation as well as tensions stemming from anti-Black racism and anti-immigrant sentiments existed in the woman suffrage movement from its inception. The tensions between White suffragists and suffragists of color, primarily African American women, intensified post-Emancipation and after the passage, ratification and adoption of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The work for voting rights is not over–in fact–on this 100th anniversary, the argument can be made the fight is being engaged by more people than ever before as Donald Trump and some of his Republican base seek to thwart the right and freedom to cast a ballot.  Then there is the irony and attempt to attach himself to the women’s movement which is so smarmy that it reeks.

Trump said he would pardon Susan B. Anthony, who fought for a woman’s right to vote.  , on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

“She was never pardoned … and you know that she got a pardon for a lot of other women, and she didn’t put her name on the list, so she was never pardoned,” Mr. Trump said during a White House event commemorating the 19th Amendment.  “She was guilty for voting.”

This is a classic example of what this post has commented upon.  The simplicity of knowing just the surface of history can not be the only knowledge we have about our past.

Below is the flip side of the poster which wrapped my New York Times this morning.

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