Letter: When they show you who they are
“When people show you who they are, believe them,” familiar advice from the poet Maya Angelou and an apt analysis of the two political conventions we just witnessed. The two conventions offered markedly different values and visions for the future, both showing us who they are.
Republican pundits promised their convention would be optimistic and upbeat, showcase the accomplishments of the president’s first term and reveal their vision for a second term. Instead they painted a nihilistic picture based on fear.
They appropriated our White House, the people’s house, for the president and First Lady to speak, hung political posters on the fencing and staged a coronavirus super-spreader gathering on the lawn.
Half the speakers were the president’s family, and Junior and his girlfriend didn’t even know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Nobody spoke about the Republican platform, but then again, there isn’t one. Nearly half the speakers were violating the Hatch Act, leaving them open to prosecution but, as the president’s chief of staff reminded us, nobody cares.
The president staged an elaborate reality show culminating in his acceptance of an unchallenged nomination and railing against Biden’s America. Spoiler alert — we have a pandemic, racial crisis and economic crisis to name a few, and we are living in Trump’s America. Demanding four more years to fix these messes seems a bit disingenuous.
The Democrats’ convention focused on character, hope and empathy. The speeches, some delivered by Republicans, echoed that theme. Endorsements came from all living Democrat presidents: Carter, Clinton and Obama. Biden won the nomination over more than 20 other candidates, most of whom spoke during the convention and one of whom he chose as his vice president.
Many presenters spoke of needed health care, climate change and racial and economic justice, all pillars of the Democrats’ platform. The platform itself was developed by a coalition of Biden supporters and supporters of his most fierce competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders, who delivered a heartfelt endorsement of former Vice-President Biden.
The Democrats offered a virtual convention respecting all the scientific guidelines for masking and social distancing during a pandemic. Their virtual convention was a new experience for everyone, but the public seems to have liked actually hearing the speeches versus the usual hoopla of political conventions as evidenced by the TV ratings.
On Nov. 3, we would do well to remember Ms. Angelou’s admonition, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
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