Prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention in Denver I decided I would watch both it and the Republican National Convention the same amount of time, hour for hour. It’s the same belief in learning about both sides of any important issue that also prompted me to program one conservative and one liberal radio station in my car. It also makes me listen to both classical music and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
So far, I can hardly stand to listen to either the right or the left on radio for more than thirty seconds, but the conventions held my interest these past two weeks. So much so, that I stopped blogging during the RNC. This is not to be construed that I liked that convention better or thought those speeches more spellbinding. It does mean I’m coming out from under my rock and getting interested in the campaign for president once again. (I had been glad when the Olympics knocked our race off center stage.) It also means there’s work to be done.
I realize that national conventions are about preaching to the choir, about rallying the troops already aligned with your cause, about getting those stragglers whom you think should be in the fold to comply. I never understood this before these past two conventions.
But after seeing how the Clintons were given air time in the hope that their eighteen million supporters would vote Democratic, I get it. After see how McCain chose someone completely out of left field to appeal to a certain base of the GOP, I get it.
The thing is: I didn’t get much substance from either convention. Only promises to stop our dependence on foreign oil, to cut taxes, to revamp health care. The “How” piece of it was noticeably missing.
So the work that’s left to do isn’t about the candidates spouting their favorite phrases. It’s about my digging and digging some more into what they really believe on the issues involved. It’s what we should all do if we want to be informed voters. The pity is, probably most people will vote on the basis of sounds bites instead of sound research.