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Who needs conventions?

rainey

So, the GOP national convention is over. Thank god!

Now, I’d like Democrats to call off their planned Philadelphia get-together. Everyone just stay home. I think the National DNC should collect the millions to be spent on the show and donate every penny to half a dozen deserving charities. Every cent.

Crazy idea? O.K., tell me this. Repub or Demo. Even if the Dems put on a bang-up show, lit up your old flat screen with fireworks, paraded the best speakers, made the most honorable promises, would it change anything? Would it change your mind? Would you suddenly be a more loyal member of the party? Or, would you run screaming over to do all you could to get Trumpy promptly installed in the oval office?

In sum, no matter what happens in Philly, at a cost of ten or so million dollars, would it change anything? Would the country be a better place to live? Would your mind be changed in any meaningful way? Even in a small way?

I sincerely doubt it. Nothing – absolutely nothing – will change at our house as a result of a second convention. The whole business and those millions – will have gone just to give all those out-of-town delegates a few days away from home and a chance to eat a real Philly Cheese Steak sandwich made with real Cheesewhiz. Hillary and Tim will be declared the “official” nominees, a few thousand balloons will be dropped, the cleaning crew will go to work and the convention center staff will go on to other business. At a cost of another ten million or so.

National political conventions – especially those staged before the time of the TV camera – used to be special events They were the epitome of flag-waving Americana, where everyone came away with good feelings of renewed pride in their citizenship, They offered seminal moments of what political conventions – and this country – were supposed to be. We were informed, entertained and proud!

Rigged? Most of the time. Predictable outcomes? Certainly. But staging – speeches – the presentation of patriotic spirit – the entire extravaganza – everything – all designed to re-baptize delegates, crank up their enthusiasm for the selected candidates and send them home to work their hearts out. Conventions used to be – almost always – successful. And, to the public, filled with positive messages and images. The “fix” may have been there from the beginning but the exercise served an honorable purpose.

So, tell me. When the Republican show in Cleveland ended, were you re-energized, newly filled with the spirit of citizenship, ready to go out and work hard for Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence? Did those four days personally change anything for the better in your life or as part of this big nation? Did you witness a life-altering experience? Or were you just mad the whole event caused the network to cancel four nights of “Walker, Texas Ranger?”

To our great national shame, both conventions will affect life in this country even less than those that came before. We already knew who the nominees would be, had already decided who we would support and who we wouldn’t and had our minds made up months ago.

One other thing we knew even before the GOP gavel came down – the divisiveness and anger of the citizenry at-large will remain unchanged regardless of what happened in Cleveland and what will happen in Philadelphia. What ails us – what’s causing chasms in our national relationships – what’s concerning other nation’s about our future stability and dependability – we knew none of that would be resolved by either party gathering.

What we need most to start healing this nation won’t be found on any convention floor or in either party’s machinations. It won’t appear as special programming or in-depth articles in our national media. We will not get up one morning and feel “healed,” “renewed” or find a special kindness and acceptance of people with whom we angrily disagree.

What we need most urgently is a huge one-on-one effort from each of us to stop rejecting new thought, end disbelieving in science and education-based fact, accept the humanity and personal worth of our neighbor as ourselves. And, we must reject – in the strongest possible way – demagoguery and the anti-intellectual fervor driving wedges in our country from border to border. We must demand – also in the strongest possible way – personal accountability and responsibility from leaders in every form of government under which we live.

But, even more necessary than all of that, we must each become more involved – more personally educated about the city, county, state and the entirety of this nation in which we live. Our national mess can be traced to two factors: personal ignorance about how this country is structured – how it functions – and a loss of a simple demand that people wanting to lead be educated, informed and able to work with others in the conduct our national affairs.

So, do we really need another convention? Or, do we need to just admit we need each other and start working on that?

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