Hope-a-tude-a-thon day 2007: The Democratic National Convention

I have been feeling that low-grade depression Michele Obama recently talked about having. I know I’m not alone. Our world is upside down. But this week, I got a big dose of an SSRI, called the Democratic National Convention.

I couldn’t even imagine how they could possibly simulate the frenzied excitement of a real convention on Zoom. And the first night, I was feeling wobbly about it, but as the week wore on, each night’s pace quickened and with it my pulse. I began feeling something that’s been missing for the past four years: hope. Yeah, the Democrats have pulled off the task of not only making the case against Donald Trump, but making it for Joe Biden. I know, I was already a believer. I was already voting for him, because I know Trump is more dangerous than a serial killer and with his response to the pandemic, about 172,000 times more successful, but still the convention gave me more than just a clear choice, it gave me a shot of optimisim.

Biden is as different from Trump as an egg and an elephant. Joe is a man of faith, raised Catholic and who sill relies on that faith to pull him through the rough patches. He was raised by working-class parents to be humble, to understand that nobody is better than he is. He has endured some of the most excruciating losses one can experience in not just losing his wife and baby girl in a car accident, but also losing his son Beau to brain cancer several years ago. He is a people person, a compassionate man who connects with everybody, from the elevator operator, to the CEO, grandmas to presidents. He has been a public servant since he was in his 20’s, so basically his whole adult life. He believes in everybody, despite race, creed, or gender. And he knows right from wrong. He served as second in command to a black man and now he has chosen a black and Indian woman to be his second in command, firmly planting himself as a “For the people,” all people politician.

Contrast this with Donald Trump who doesn’t have religion (hell, he doesn’t even have a dog). His biggest loss to date is the inheritance he squandered because he isn’t, as he alleges he is, a very good businessman. He was raised with money from day one in a family with a sketchy moral character if any at all. He never shows compassion for anybody, except, oddly those who commit crimes and get caught. For them he always seems to have a, “That’s very sad. I wish them well.” He’s a divider, working as hard as he can to tear us apart instead of bring us together. He is a racist, a sexist, a white supremacist. He hates immigrants. He demeans those who are less fortunate, makes fun of those with disabilities, has a childish schoolyard nickname for everybody. He spends ample time on Twitter and watching Fox news.

He exaggerates everything, from the inconsequential to the very important. He does not believe in science. He doesn’t believe in climate change. What he does believe is that “one day the pandemic will just go away, like a miracle.” He thinks cheating is ok. He appears not to know or understand the constitution. He has a vocabulary of approximately 25 words, featuring “great”, “tremendous,” “very,” “huge,” “incredible,” and of course the phrase, “and everybody knows it.” He surrounds himself with crooked people–seven of his closest associates have been indicted. He takes no responsibility for anything he may have done that’s bad, quick to blame others. He thinks little of democracy and cares even less about anything or anybody except himself.

The contrast is stark and abundantly clear. Joe is for the people, Trump is for himself. This is just a fact and you can find hundreds of examples of this in just the last four years.

Anyway, the Democratic Convention gave me a big dose of hope. Just the possibility of not having Trump as our leader, and having someone who has a moral center, experience, good judgment, and a big tent attitude instantly lifted my spirits. Having Trump as our president has been like having a three-year-old as a babysitter. He is, as Barack Obama said, not able to do the job. And whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you really have to consider that another four years of Trump could undo our democracy, could put in peril your children’s futures, let alone our own.

Just the thought, just the very thought of having an adult in the oval office buoys me. And gratitude for that. Hope is everything. And when you have someone at the helm steals it, that can’t be construed by anybody as a good thing. And everybody knows it.

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