2008-09-04 / View From the Middle

Have The Conventions Changed Your Mind Yet? Me Neither!

View From The Middle
By Charles Rogers

Now they've gone and done it! I was getting ready to position myself on the middle of the fence — straddling it in confusion as to which direction I would lean at this juncture in the current presidential election process — when Senator Barack Obama's speech rattled one side of my brain (in one way) and Senator John McCain's choice of a running mate rattled the other side (in another way). Mind you, it would be just a leaning at this point, but that is a substantial advance in my thinking on the subject.

Up 'til now, I'd considered Barack Obama, not just because of his fancy rhetoric, but because I thought that rhetoric might indeed have some guts to it. Of course, there was that relative-youth factor, better known as "inexperience in leadership," as suggested time after time by Senator John McCain, et al, for obvious reasons.

But, up 'til now, I'd considered Barack Obama as my choice. Wait a minute. Didn't I just say...Well, that'll show you how my mindset was.

As a matter of fact, I'm now more confused than ever. Frankly, I liked Hillary for a number of reasons, none of which had to do with gender. Sharp lady there. We know where she's gonna be four years from now. She also put the Democrats into a dilemma with her tenacity, knowledge and experience. When Barack won the nomination — and it was announced by Senator Clinton — we all had to admit it couldn't have been staged better if Oliver Stone directed it.

Now, about that Democratic convention. It was good, as conventions go. Of course, if it seemed a little bit too glitzy, well, that's okay too. That's what conventions are for: to show off, get a little drunk, and let everybody know you're for a certain man or woman for president. The glitziness (I guess that's a word — and if it wasn't, it is now!), however, came to be too much when they staged the last night at the Denver Bronco's football field. It sounds like the punch line to a joke! How bold! How arrogant!

And the Senator Obama's speech turned out to be the same way: bold and arrogant. Heretofore, his eloquence was practically lyrical; his expression relatively sublime; his words relatively inspirational. But not this time. I must admit it was unusual to see his brow slightly creased in anger. We hadn't seen much of that before — and, to me, it was upsetting. This was not the man I'd originally seen on television 18 months ago.

He came down hard on John McCain, just as he was supposed to do at this time and this place, but in a way unlike Barack Obama. Then he recited a list of aspirations that were soooo political; soooo out of the book of "How To Make Political Speeches;" sooo full of rhetoric that it sent me into spasms of uncontrollable gagging (Well, maybe that's a little strong, ya think?).

It was truly wonderful to see an African American take the stage and announce he will accept the nomination for President of the United States. Truly a stirring, historical moment not to be forgotten — ever. And we should be proud of his — and our — accomplishments toward that goal.

Did his speech change my mind about whom to vote for?

hell no (said in a whisper, with no capital letters).

John McCain then had to come along the day after the Democratic convention and announce his running mate will be Annie Oakley, uh, I mean Sarah Palin, the rootin', tootin', shootin' Governor of Alaska. She has been in that high state office for less than two years and has never been on the national scene in any way. Of course, Barack Obama has never been a CEO of anything and they are close to the same age.

Oh, no you don't — don't try to compare the short time Barack has been in government to the 13 years Palin has. They're not the same function and you know it! One is the executive and the other does the bidding of the executive.

Of course, then there's Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. He's got it all: a helluva lot of years in the U.S. Senate; a great sense of humor; experience, experience, experience; a temper that makes him say a few unchosen words now and then — well, come to think of it, so does McCain. And I'll bet Mrs. Palin can choose a few words that will match Joe and John too. When we get to know her better, I'll wager we find out she's pretty tough and can have a beer with the best of 'em.

But there I go again! I'm still on the fence! It just shows to go ya that the next two months are going to be more interesting than we might have thought.

Why, some of you may even go out and vote!

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