Four years ago, about this time, I was watching the political conventions. I’ve been fascinated by these events since 1964; Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite, Vidal, Buckley…and balloon drops. Part of me died in 1968 in the parks of Chicago…but I hit pause on my demise while I enjoyed the balloon drops.
Little did I know four years ago that I might be enjoying my last political conventions as we know them. These unreality shows appear to be evaporating in the stark reality of COVID19 and social media.
But enjoy them I did. I grabbed my popcorn and I watched.
And I had thoughts…
I you will, “return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear” (apologies to the Lone Ranger).
After watching two weeks of political conventions. My head is not spinning. I have a passel of thoughts but they seem pretty clear.
- It was the best of conventions: it was the worst of conventions. I confess I plagiarized and paraphrased that.
- I enjoyed seeing Paul Simon and Carole King while flinching at hearing them. Gettin’ old sucks.
- The Trump family is lovely to look at – sans pere.
- One of the things I enjoy about traveling is hearing languages and accents I rarely hear in Lexington. It humbles me a bit (always useful in my case) and reminds me I’m part of something bigger than the blissful bubble Janie and I live in and cherish.
- In his late eighties, my grandfather was taken hunting one afternoon by one of my cousins. When they emerged from their hunting ground, they were confronted by a game warden waiting by their car. He asked for my grandfather’s hunting license and in the ensuing confusion about the existence of such a document (not to mention any relevant emails, birth certificates, or tax returns), the warden said he would need to have my grandfather’s gun/rifle/bazooka/whatever. My grandfather responded by cocking his gun/rifle/bazooka/whatever and saying “I don’t think so.” I think my mom had to bail him out on that caper.
I relate this to point out that I, like many of us, come from a culture of personal weaponry that is not even in the same area code as rational thought. I, like most of us, would like to see some improvement in the number of weapons of mass destruction currently in the hands of dangerous people (toddlers and terrorists alike). But I also think this is one of the two “third-rail” issues in US politics today. This issue will be tough for Democrats.
- By the way, the other “third-rail” issue is Social Security. Republicans might want to tread warily here. This geezer would respectfully suggest they get offa my lawn. Or, to quote my grandfather; “I don’t think so.”
- A wall. Really? A wall? Didn’t Russia try that in Berlin? If we’re gonna build something, let’s RE-build our infrastructure. Bridges, roads, and airports – yes! Wall – I don’t think so.
- I’ve witnessed history-making things in my lifetime.
- Humans bounding on the moon.
- Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
- John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
- Barack Obama’s election to the presidency.
- Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the presidency.
- I’ve also seen a good many balloon drops in my lifetime and I always like’em. Yesterday’s Democratic Convention balloon drop was the best.
Finally, I’m watching a couple of films by Danish director Carl Theodore Dreyer. In his film Gertrud, one of the characters advises;
“Two things have been and still are more important to me than anything else. These two things are love and thought. You’ve spoken about love. As far as thoughts go, we should have courage to think good thoughts for the good thoughts bring us to the summit of truth, and truth is the only thing worthwhile.”
Michelle Obama might have said that more succinctly; “When they go low, we go high.”
No, my head’s not spinning…I’m goin’ high.