Every night of the Democratic National Un-Convention has had a delight, and last night’s delight was red meat. The gloves came off from the get-go, and if you watched it, you also know that it skewed more than a little to the Yutes of Today; no Bruce Springsteen last night, that’s for sure. And all of this is good.
The climate crisis was mostly presented by aspirational and inspirational teens telling us about their projects and how they are making things happen, often because the adults have not or will not, and they are inheriting a world on fire.
There was a montage of teens talking about gun drills, clips from the Lakeland Florida kids, a mother of a Pulse Nightclub victim, all of it coming at the view rapid-fire (I’m pretty sure that was intentional), and then the pace changed and we met survivors of gun violence:
- DeAndra Dycus, whose son was shot in the head and is now profoundly disabled. She went from being a working mom to being a working mom and full-time caregiver. Her sadness and exhaustion was profound.
- Then Gabby Giffords appeared. In the run-up to her speech, she was shown her working on her recovery, but they also showed her working with her speech therapist on the speech she would deliver. She is a triumph over adversity, and she also showed us how hard she still works to do simple things like talk and walk. Things we take for granted. Giffords’ speech shattered me.
It was very powerful stuff.
“…The party also has four women in the Senate who ran for president in this cycle, and two of them — Senator Elizabeth Warren and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris — both gave fine performances on Wednesday. So did former nominee Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And then there was former Representative Gabby Giffords, her career tragically disrupted, who gave perhaps the most gripping and courageous speech of the night. There simply aren’t Republican women of similar stature.”
All that said, probably the most powerful moment was the speech given by President ‘No Drama’ Obama (above) but this passage was different from anything I’ve ever heard an ex-president say:
I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously …
But he never did. For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.
Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead, millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.
And I’m not the only one who noticed this historic moment:
“It was an extraordinary moment in American history — an ex-president saying the sitting president would tear down our democracy to hold power.” — Axios
…and within minutes, less than 10, in fact, came the counter-punches:
“Trump meanwhile, back at the White House, was rage-tweeting in real time in all-caps, flinging wild accusations and lies that, if anything, provided contemporaneous evidence of his predecessor’s somber warnings.” — CNN
Obama just upped his lease inside Lord Damp Nut’s dark and dank melon.
Let’s fast-forward to Kamala Harris’ acceptance speech:
Obama is a hard act to follow, and Harris does admirably. One of the truisms of 2020 is that Team Evil has their scope on her, and —having unsuccessfully rebranded well-known nice guy Handsome Joe into History’s Greatest Monster— they are going to work Harris into their new and improved boogeyman. Harris is everything they hate: a successful woman, a successful person of color, a successful child of immigrants. Her job last night was to cut them off at the pass. I think she succeeded, and here’s why:
I’ve seen criticism elsewhere that she didn’t have enough zingers, she was too restrained, and so on, but that was Obama’s job and not hers —but her line, “I know a predator when I see one” was as sharp a punch as any and Very. Memorable. She was first and foremost defining herself to America, who if they’ve seen her at all it has been ripping into miscreants like the Virgin Mayor of Keg City, Brett Kavanaugh. Her goal was to show us the non-prosecutorial side.
And I will tell you something as a expert witness. I was raised by two lawyers and I know that cadence and that clarity Harris used last night: she was addressing a jury.