Dan and I fixed dinner with a quiet excitement, hurrying about and getting ready for an evening in front of the TV with remote in hand, flipping from CNN to live feed and occasionally back to local channels. Mostly we watched the live feed our cable company provided for free (thank you Dish Network) and for the first time we saw regular people stand up and testify in Democratic solidarity. This is not to say that regular people haven't spoken during other conventions, in fact I'm sure they have but normally while they are speaking the big networks use that time to show commercials. We delighted in watching the live feed, and want to share with you some lines that made us smile:
"I'm a lifelong Republican. I voted for Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Bush. But I literally cannot afford four more years of this." - Pam Cash-Roper
"Einstein said a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. If we elect John McCain, then, according to Einstein, we surely would be insane." - Monica Early
"I want a government that takes care of Barney Smith not Smith Barney" - Barney Smith
Of course you've heard all about Obama's speech. Most of you either watched it or will see/hear/read clips of it and form your own opinions but when Obama said
"Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America – they have served the United States of America."
It made me really hope we are going to push the debate forward past the stale rhetoric that bogs us down from ever talking about real issues. And while we are moving past the things we may never agree on, I was also glad he said:
"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.
This too is part of America's promise — the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."
I am looking forward to an elevated conversation about policy and economics and I hope McCain and his Grand Old Party rise to the challenge of leaving inherent differences behind. We all know they're red and we're blue and anyone that is deciding on a candidate solely based on these red/blue issues has already chosen a party and is sticking to it. Now is the time to move beyond Politics 101 and debate the issues that aren't obvious party platform. This is the realm in which campaigns are won.