Michelle Obama Slays The DNC

Everything about the DNC seemed different from the convention the republicans recently put on. The audience at Lie-fest 2012 was mostly white and high on the homogeneous factor, while in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Michelle Obama’s addressed the Democrats, the audience pan revealed every imaginable hue of person and lots of women. I saw turbans, weaves, Kangol hats and Kippas (yarmulke) in the  audience, many of whom were brought to tears by Mrs Obama’s words. Her speech was moving and from the Facebook comments of my friends, people were ready to vote right after the speech.

The presidential election brings us all into a comparative mind state, because we’re trying to figure out what candidate offers the best stewardship and opportunity to progress the country back towards American ideals. Previously, we wanted safe streets, good schools, lower taxes for the middle class, affordable healthcare and more jobs, though for this election the issues of safe streets and good schools receive far less attention. It’s all about the economy (stupid) and who did what to screw it all up. It’s pure “he did it” cinema. It’s always the other dudes fault.  A report containing manipulated numbers gets produced to back up any assertion or claim and then roundly discredited by the opposition.

Any comparison between the two candidates has factors that are unique to an incumbent running for re-election, because we’re judging Barack Obama on what he has done and what he says he will do in a Second term and we’re judging Mitt Romney based only on what he says he will do.  Just looking back at President Obama’s 2008 campaign speech, it’s clear that saying and doing are not the same and quite frankly, nobody should hold to task any president based on all his campaign promises. They’re just sweat nothings whispered in your ear at night to get the vote. Most people will damn near tell you anything to become president of the United States. Just get “Get them to sign on the line that is dotted”. It’s a big job, with a super big title and everybody who runs for the job thinks they can change the world and make history.

Mr. Obama performed competently in his first term, but there lies the hitch. The Presidency of America is sort after tooth and nail and is still the number one job in the minds of many people. I think lots of candidates want to become president because they want to BE president. Not to serve the people, but to be the most powerful person on the planet. Power tripping, if you will. Maybe like a guy wanting to have sex with Rihanna. Not so much because said guy is really into her and has all these fantastic thoughts about her…..but maybe so he can say he had Rihanna.

Elected politicians are in it as a career and hence spend their term not so much serving, but vying for reelection and wouldn’t ya know it, the level of partisanship seems to be at an all time high. Pander to your base or lose the election. Pander to your base or hit the bricks after the first term. Considering that the president is part of a system of checks and balances and cross party alliances is the only way for progress, the real impact of any president of the United States will be dull without a real spirit of bipartisanship.

Mr. Obama had a super low- level of bipartisanship working for him in his first term. Republicans would not agree on how to spell agree if the spelling was initially pushed by Democrats. This made for a lot of nothing. Nothing getting done, nothing getting passed and the people suffering.

If Mitt Romney does win, the Republicans will suddenly be all for bipartisanship and call the Democrats out for not being a team player, a Team “America” player. In this type of political climate, the best any President can hope for is to perform competently and not totally screw it up. That’s very sad. That’s a very low bar, but the very function of the American political system has set it low. People are putting themselves, their ideology and strict adherence to it above the country, so regardless of who wins, it ain’t looking good for Americans. The system of holding back the president so that he doesn’t perform excellently, just so the oppositions candidate can increase his chances of winning the next presidential election is wrong….but it seems to be par for the course in American, presidential politics.

This adds up. Time is precious and life is partly measured in time. One term, Two terms, Three terms, Four. All the bullshit and suddenly it’s 16 years gone by. That’s 16 years of people’s lives. Years of worrying about issues like healthcare and crime and education and jobs and years of losing to those issues. What’s really going to change, regardless of who gets elected?

But we will always have Michelle Obama’s 2012 DNC speech. It was wonderful.

Richard Burroughs


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