I was going to throw a fit about Margaret Cho being un-invited by the HRC and the media swarming like vultures over Teresa Heinz Kerry, but in the bigger scheme of things, all that is immaterial. And though I'm sick and tired of the other camp playing dirty and then crying foul, even that is irrelevant.
Only one thing matters, and that's for us to win this election. The stakes are too high. We absolutely can't afford another four years of an Administration run by extremist neocons, religious fundamentalists, war hawks and mega-corporations. They are not what the United States of America is all about.
I thought the Democratic National Convention got off to a splendid start. The dysfunction of previous conventions are gone. The Dems are united by a steely determination to take the country back and that's what we need to send Kerry to the White House.
After watching the major speeches, I needn't have worried that they would sound antiseptic or bland. They were note perfect, not too much sugar and just enough spice. They all persuasively argued that the Democrats are the party with a vision for all as opposed to a party that capitalizes on divisiveness and paranoia. If they are any indication of what we will hear the rest of this week, then I say give me seconds and thirds, please.
Here are some memorable excerpts from the speeches [text and streaming video available from the Democratic Convention web site]:
It is in that spirit, that I sincerely ask those watching at home who supported President Bush four years ago: did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for?
Is our country more united today? Or more divided?
Has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled? Or do those words now ring hollow?
...I believe that we need new leadership that is both strong and wise
...one of our greatest strengths as a democracy is that when we are headed in the wrong direction, we can correct our course. When policies are clearly not working, we can change them. If our leaders make mistakes, we can hold them accountable-even if they never admit their mistakes.
Today, our dominant international challenge is to restore the greatness of America—based on telling the truth, a commitment to peace, and respect for civil liberties at home and basic human rights around the world... Without truth—without trust—America cannot flourish. Trust is at the very heart of our democracy, the sacred covenant between the president and the people.
...But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations.
...In repudiating extremism we need to recommit ourselves to a few common-sense principles that should transcend partisan differences....in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.
...At stake is nothing less than our nation’s soul... I believe tonight, as I always have, that the essential decency, compassion and common sense of the American people will prevail.
To build that kind of world we must make the right choices; and we must have a president who will lead the way...Democrats want to build an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities and more global cooperation, acting alone only when we must.
We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.
They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. We don't.
...Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice: to use the moment of unity to push America too far to the right...withdrawing American support for the Climate Change Treaty, the International Court for war criminals, the ABM treaty, and even the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank you note—until I realized they were sending you the bill.
Their opponents will tell you to be afraid of John Kerry and John Edwards, because they won’t stand up to the terrorists—don’t you believe it. Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values—they go hand in hand.