If you’re a consistent follower of this blog, you may have guessed I’m a Democrat. If not, let me state it here and now for all the world to hear: I am a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party.
Big deal. So what? Being a serious Democrat has not kept me from voting the Republican ticket a few times over the years; a fact that will not be widely accepted by those who always vote the straight party ticket no matter who’s on it. I’ve always been puzzled and amazed by smart friends who tell me they really don’t care if Mickey Mouse is their party’s candidate for President of the United States – he gets their vote.
But regardless of the party to which you pledge your allegiance – or if you do so it all – one universal truth rings true: There is nothing like a national convention. Mark your calendars, my friends, because this is it. This is the big show. This is democracy in action and political theater at its best.
The Republican Convention is next week (July 18-July 21) at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The Democratic Convention is the following week (July 25-July 28) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Although they may be held at different times in different locations, both conventions will have at least three things in common:
- Traffic will impact the entire city from the day before the convention starts and will remain that way until the day after the convention ends.
- Weather in both cities will be so hot and humid everyone will be looking for relief (and indoor air conditioning).
- You will have the best seat in the house if you’ll simply turn on your television or laptop and let the drama unfold.
Political conventions are nothing if not entertaining. All of the candidates and potential nominees who wouldn’t even look at each other during the primaries are now acting like long lost friends. A list of new laws will be discussed and new promises will be made by everyone who has any floor time to speak.
Entertainment value often depends on the party budgets. Democrats usually have the best entertainment, since a lot of “Hollywood types” are Democrats and offer themselves up for the event. Republicans usually have the most loved country music stars, since many of them hail from Red States.
This celebrity support doesn’t always prove to be a good thing, however. Even those of us with poor memories remember a skit at the last Republican Convention when Clint Eastwood decided talking to an empty chair would be just the ticket to help Mitt Romney. And we all know how that worked out.
Why should you watch every second of these conventions? We are an amazing nation with plethora of rights and liberties afforded to each citizen unheard of in many parts of the world.
And even though some may not always believe it, ours is one of the most transparent electoral systems on the globe. Click the link to either convention above, and you can find the complete platform being built and presented by each party. What do the Republicans or Democrats plan for education, social programs, tax reform and healthcare? Their platforms explain – in detail – just what they’re proposing for the next four years.
It’s also interesting to see who each party has chosen to speak at their convention. You never know when you’ll hear a powerful presentation by a young senator or first-term governor. Keep a list of those speaking in the early afternoon on the first two days, because these women and men are likely to become the party leaders four years from now.
As dry as some may be, I also encourage you to listen to all the speeches – especially those by the nominees. You may feel you’ve already heard enough from both of these individuals, but now is the time to really listen to their plans for the future of our country.
Finally, take the time to register and vote in the November Presidential Election. As I said a few months ago in my post about Hamilton – you have to be in the room. It’s not only your right to vote for the candidate of your choice, but your sovereign responsibility. Register. Vote. And take pride in the process you help drive.