For what it is worth, this is a cool concept.
For what it is worth, this is a cool concept.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, tagged 2008 Presidential Election, America, Barack Obama, Christianity, Democratic National Convention, John McCain, political speech, Politics, public discourse, public political discourse, religious language, Republican National Convention, Sarah Palin, United States of America on September 4, 2008 | 1 Comment »
Last night my wife Molly and I watched the coverage of the Republican National Convention, in large part to catch the remarks of Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. You can read the full text of her speech here, or watch here. To view the full speech you’ll need to click through a few links on YouTube, as the speech is broken in to segments. Below you’re going to find some of my connected, but disjointed highlights from both conventions. I’m not writing an essay here, but I’m presenting snippets I think are important to consider.
As the evening progressed Molly was on Facebook watch, tracking the status updates of a number of friends as they posted reactions to Palin. Some of the more humorous comments included, “is America getting Punk’d right now?” to “I’m waiting for someone to pop up and say, ‘Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!’” My friends’ updates included:
Perhaps my disillusionment with the presentation of both parties lies in the fact these events, and the speeches which are given during these events, are tailor made for media coverage and the manipulation of image. Sarah Palin’s speech was a great example of this type of politics. ”Attack-dog” tactics are not new in politics–they are as old as the earth. But in the age of media, pithy statements sway voters. The catchier, the more humorous, the better. Forget actually talking about a proposed plan, strategy while in office, or solutions to actual problems which exist in this country–that is not what political conventions are for. Political conventions are for the delivery of zingers which will carry your campaign. Here are a few of one liners which will be featured in both radio and television reports throughout the day:
If you read the text version of Palin’s speech, you’ll find that it is sound bite after sound bite, short statement followed by short statement. No topic is treated for more than 60 seconds, many of the issues are given much less. During her speech, it seemed as though no more than 30 seconds would pass before her speech reached a moment calling for applause or the response of the audience.
The sad reality of this format is that it seems to diminish discourse, reducing the basis upon which we nominate and elect our officials to their ability to formulate catchy slogans fit for media consumption and propagation.
I wish I had the confidence in the American public to believe that most people will weigh the issues, research the candidates, and read up on proposed plans and strategies each candidate puts forth before casting their vote. At this stage I don’t have that confidence.
The “Drill Baby Drill” chant which emerged during the Guilliani speech drove me nuts. Here is an RNC video addressing the energy issue, particularly drilling in Alaska. I am not necessarily opposed to proposed drilling here in America, but am realistic enough to see that drilling is a short term solution to our energy problem. Oil based industries (such as automobile manufacturing) have worked for years to stall advancement in the area of fuel efficiency. Gasoline prices have forced the American public to demand some type of change. People are driving less, purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles, and raising their voice in support of new energy technologies. We can be proactive now, or face an even greater crisis later. I’m in agreement with Thomas Friedman that energy technology could be our next “man on the moon” type mission for the American people.
Here are a few of my favorite remarks from Barack Obama during his speech at the DNC:
What’s left for the American people to do?
By the way, I don’t think the President can restore our moral standing, globally or domestically. That would assume that there is a common morality or a common conception of virtue, which doesn’t exist in America. A common narrative has eroded over the last 50 years as secularism has increased and pluralism has won the day. I would say that our public morality is still being negotiated.
Also, what did Barack Obama mean when he closed his speech with the words, “Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess”?
What exactly is that hope that we confess, as found in the words of Scripture, which applies to the current state of the nation? Thanks for throwing those that read the Bible a bone.
I had this question when I heard these words from Rudy Guilliani:
And as we look to the future never let us forget that – when we are at our best – we are the party that expands Freedom. We began as a party dedicated to freeing people from slavery … And we are still the party that is willing to fight for freedom at home and around the world. We are the party that wants to expand individual freedom and economic freedom … because we believe that the secret of America’s success is not central government, it is self-government. We are the party that believes in giving workers the right to work. The party that believes parents should choose where their children go to school.
And we are the party that believes unapologetically in America’s essential greatness – that we are a shining city on the hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires people everywhere to reach for a better world.
Both parties present their candidate as the Savior, Defender, and Protector of “America.”
Lastly, to repeat a Sarah Palin comment:
To the most powerful office on earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless … the wisdom that comes even to the captives, by the grace of God … the special confidence of those who have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome.
Does it seem as though John McCain is being presented here as…Jesus?