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This Is What Democracy Looks Like
www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman
August 26, 2008
Monday Night - One Mile High
I decided to watch the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention on PBS instead of the three talking head cable news channels. The reason was simple: I wanted to make my own decision as to how the Dems did, at least on the first night.
Another reason I wanted to watch on PBS was that I also wanted to hear the speeches, not just the snippets I knew would be the only things offered elsewhere.
By watching PBS, I got to hear the front-runner for the Junior US Senator from Illinois' seat, should Senator Obama become President Obama, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. speech. It was with the passion one would expect from Jesse Jackson's son without the extra "look at me" moment one might associate with his famous father, Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Some of you might remember the younger Jackson taking his father to task about his "accidentally" recorded castration comment when the latter thought his mic was off.
We also got to hear former Republican Congressman Jim Leach of Iowa state his support in an eloquent speech which could only have been written by the former rep himself. There was no anger in Leach's voice or remarks, nor were there any shots at his former GOP allies. Leach merely stated his case with examples of real leadership by citing examples by leaders of both parties from the past. Leach is supporting Senator Obama because he feels that he, Obama, is the only candidate who can make the change in Washington necessary to get our nation back on track.
And of course there was the tribute film by Ken Burns to Senator Ted Kennedy; the introduction by the now not-so-camera-shy (and it's about time!) Carolyn Kennedy; and the speech by the Senator himself, full of passion and hope and set out as a reminder of what a man born on third base could do if he didn't think he hit a triple.
Michelle Obama, the night's keynote speaker, was introduced by her brother, Oregon State's men's basketball coach Craig Robinson. The intro included a film and presentation narrated by their Mother, Marian Robinson. The Robinsons took the moment to pay tribute to their father, Fraser Robinson, in a memorial to the man who was the main influence over their lives. Fraser Robinson died of Multiple Sclerosis in 1991.
The night was designed to close with a well-prepared speech by Michelle Obama. There can be no doubt that her twenty-or-so minute address to the delegates and the American people was designed to showcase her family and her husband as the head of that family. In that short amount of time, Mrs. Obama was able to show her husband's human side and allow us all to see the man, not the icon.
And I believe that this was important for those who are still undecided to see.
There was, at the end, an off-the-cuff moment which couldn't have been scripted when Michelle Obama brought out her two daughters, Malia and Sasha, eight and five years old, respectively. They came out and stole the show. With their father Barack, live, on the video screen in the background from a supporter's living room in Kansas City, Sasha Obama took the microphone from her mother and guided the rest of the evening to its close.
Perhaps Oprah should take notice of the youngest Obama girl.
Tonight the Democrats will do more to show the difference between Senator Obama and John McCain. With former Virginia Governor Mark Warner giving the keynote speech tonight; and Hillary Clinton's powerful and supportive speech to follow, certainly the tone of the convention will change.
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