Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tuesday Morning
Second Day of the Democratic National Convention

Was late to breakfast. I thought I had the commute figured out, but I didn't and I missed breakfast and a reporter who wanted to interview me. It is not a good feeling to miss breakfast especially when you are hungry and traveled for an hour to get there. I picked up my credentials and then headed to the lobby to read the papers. I then decided to go back to the Boston College area, actually to Boston College itself-I had work to do (Husserl is work).

BC is a great looking campus. You can tell that the school is flush with funds unlike another unnamed Catholic school I was/am affiliated with--Catholic University of America. I suggest walking into the main libraries of both schools, the difference is immediately clear. I think CUA just fixed up its library, so it looks better now than it did not long ago.

My afternoon was spent plowing through hundreds of embedded Husserlian clauses trying to figure out what the heck his point is-that Descartes was not faithful to his method, he stopped short of doubting everything and retained certain assumptions. I takes Husserl 50 pages to say this.

Upset at missing breakfast (I paid quite a bit to the MD state party for those breakfasts) but not upset at missing speeches, I was speeched out, I chilled out the rest of the afternoon. There were caucuses and things everywhere, but I did not know where to get a schedule and I was hungry at the time so I could have cared less.

I had dinner with my friend I was staying with and two Dominican sisters, who were simply delightful and then I headed to the Fleet Center.

As usual the Nazi propaganda megaphone was blaring from the free speech zone. There weren't too many protestors. There were literally hundreds of Planned Parenthood people handing out pro-choice stickers. I can't tell you how many times I smiled sweetly and declined a large red stand up for choice sticker. I like to think that we are all on the same side. Ultimately, we want a world were human beings are fully respected and afforded full dignity-besides, we are all Kerry supporters. Kerry is a uniter. I have seen it since the beginning of this campaign. Early last year in 2003, Kerry supporters included pro-lifers like myself who voted for Bush in 2000, pro-choicers, long time Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, veterans, etc and that was insipiring--it was one of the untold stories of the primaries, the diversity of Kerry's supporters.

So up I went to the 7th floor of the fleet center, watching with disdain as the red-pass snubs who got to get on the convention floor. Every now and then, there those extra snubs, the denizens of the special VIP boxes. (This convention was a very humbling experience-you learn quickly that you are a nobody. I always thought I was a somebody-just didn't know who.) I found a seat in my nose bleed section-the section for us nobodys.

Highlights for me were Rev. Alston, Theresa Heinz Kerry and Barak Obama. The evening starting off slow for me, I just couldn't get excited. I was tired, cramped, my knees hurt, and I was falling asleep. I struggled from speaker to speaker. There was enough excitement in the room and so they didn't need my puny claps and screams anyway. It was not until Rev. Alston (I hope I'm not merging days into each other-I actually think he was on on Monday night) that I perked up. He got me going-he was one of Kerry's crew mates in Vietnam. He was just a 21 yr and Kerry was about 26-27. After every fire fight, Kerry would go to each crew member, lay his hand on their shoulder and calm them down. It was a moving testimony I thought.

Barak Obama. What can I say, what can anyone say. I was so nervous for this guy. I recall in 2000 Al Gore got a coveted prime-time spot for Harold Ford Jr, a young Black congressman from Tennessee, a rising star in the party. The speech dropped like lead, it was far from memorable and even less inspiring. I remember thinking it was okay, but not much else. Given that back drop, I was so worried for Obama. But i didn't need to be, he cleared the bar by a mile. Some are saying that he may be the first Black president. I don't see why not, however, he is going to have to bring himself to the center if he has such aspirations and his speech was a surprisingly moderate speech.

As for first Black presidents, apparently some magazine did an article on and believes that Harold Ford Jr will be the first Black president of the United States. I think that makes sense. He is from the south, he is a conservative Democrat and he was one of the first politicians very early on to endorse Kerry--he and Dianne Feinstein, for which we all will be eternally grateful. He stood up for Kerry when Kerry wasn't popular. Obama clearly has a shot, but he has to establish a centrist and independent record in the Senate. If he runs, the Black vote will come out in record numbers in the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia and I dare say he'd pick off a couple of southern states. He could clearly win. I'd be intersted in seeing Harold Ford on the stump, I don't know if he has the rhetorically electricity that Obama has, he is more a cool customer that appears thoughtful and balanced. Ford clearly has his eye on the Tennessee Senate seat and I hope he goes for it. If both Ford and Obama run for president at the same time . . . it wouldn't be until 202o after 8 prosperous years of a Kerry administration followed by 8 glorious years of an Edwards administration. I don't have to make an endorsement now.

Back to the convention. BTW a quarter pounder meal which is normally 3.99 ish was 5.70 at the Fleet center if I recall. Or maybe it was because I got a large choclate milkshake in place of the drink--who knows.

Theresa Heinz Kerry is a darling (my wife loves her too). I thought she was a very powerful speaker. She's not a politician so she isn't into the rah-rah thing. She speaks softly and from the heart. I think we may have won the election with her speech. If Kerry wins, many will attribute it to a variety of moments, I think her speech should be one of those moments. I think she reached many women who connected with her. As an ardent Kerry supporter, I had watched her many times on C-Span so I knew the effect that she had on people and so I was excited to see her talk. As confirmation, I was at Boston College a couple of days later and they were talking about her speech. One lady said that from all the sound bites she had seen on tv, she had thought THK was a nut case, but after watching her she was very touched. I think she hit an in-the-park home run.


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