DNC Day 1: Now That's the America We Know:
Occasionally, every now and then, the Rude Pundit feels a sense of transcendent love for his fellow humans. While most days, he pretty much feels like going on a stabbing spree and then getting rid of the bodies through the cleansing power of fire, sweet fire, there are times when he is in a group of mostly strangers, on the subway or at some event, some place where there's a diversity of races and classes, and everyone is just so tragically human and interwoven by circumstance, by space and time, that a warm feeling of love shoves aside the misanthropy and he thinks, "Yes, this is how we're supposed to be." And he feels uplifted, in a very real and physical sense, as if he's floating for just a moment. Then, usually, some asshole yells at a kid or some jerk gets too loud on a cell phone, and he hits the ground again.
When the Rude Pundit first turned on C-Span's coverage of the DNC (because fuck MSNBCCNNFox; he can think for himself), no one was speaking and the cameras just kept cutting to various parts of the crowd. "Jesus," he thought, "this is the America I know." See, unlike the incredibly white Republican National Convention, with the uncomfortably wedged in token people of color, here was the United States that most of us experience on a daily basis, including all those white idiots at the RNC. It is a constant stream of difference, of engaging with difference, of looking beyond difference in order to accomplish everything that needs to get done, whether at the workplace or the school or the grocery store when you just need to pay for your Pop-Tarts.
The RNC's narrative was based on a fantasy, that the country is made up of entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-wannabes, a bunch of gun-toting freedom loving men whose wives proudly give birth to whatever children are ejaculated into their wild, untamed vaginas, a white rural fantasia where all anyone needs is to be left alone in order to fulfill one's destiny, the chimera of rugged individualism so seemingly at odds with the true day-to-day lives of Americans.
The truth is something so very different and so very messy compared with the neat, white fictions the RNC laid out. The truth is that most people don't want to start businesses. They want jobs or better lives and if they get it through the government, then at least it's a fuckin' paycheck. The truth is that most people won't ever need a gun, even if they pretend they do. The truth is that this is a messy country, and stories move forward, into a hard-fought and unsure future, even if the GOP is stuck in a flashback to a nation that not only never existed, but could only exist in the most extreme dictatorial state. The RNC portrayed the citizens of the country as being in a locked battle with an evil government, as if the Obama administration was the Assad regime in Syria and they were just meagerly armed rebels, the better to appeal to the knuckle-dragging Tea Party, who were barely mentioned but whose neanderthal gruntings echoed constantly in the speeches. The Democrats, last night, at least, called "Bullshit" on their war.
And no one did it more beautifully, succinctly, and devastatingly than First Lady Michelle Obama. Speaking directly to the image of her husband as a brutal socialist totalitarian, she not only called out the lies of the right without mentioning them (always a more brutal tactic), but she laid out how a president, and a government, can affect the everyday lives of all Americans, embracing Obamacare by saying the President "did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine...our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick...and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness." It's that last one that Republicans have no answer for at all.
She said, "[I]f our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us...if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button...then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids." At least two out of three of those occurred only because of government investment in research, science, and industry. Michelle Obama rebuked the notion that the greatest good is making money, that financial comfort and material accumulation is the only measure of success. There is more, she said, there is family and love and community, and, goddamn, isn't that worth more than another ten million? When Republicans tried to say such things, they came across as winking jokes.
People keep comparing Obama's speech to Ann Romney's, and, yes, they both played the role of supportive spouse. But a better comparison would be to Mitt Romney's attempts to humanize himself in his speech. Michelle Obama's emotions throughout her speech, and especially towards the end, her stutters, her repetitions came across as so very real, as if she was one of us talking to us. Mitt Romney attempted to appear dewy-eyed and sincere, but mostly he just looked as if he was patronizing an audience that thinks such patronization is identification; he was talking to a fake nation. Michelle Obama talked to a real America.
To bottom line it: At a jury trial, the Rude Pundit would want Michelle Obama as his attorney. And he'd love it if she'd face off against Romney.
Michelle Obama brought the soul. Tonight, Bill Clinton will bring the funk (and, frankly, you can bet that Mitt Romney is shitting himself over what Clinton is gonna say, no matter what the GOP says).
Note: "It's okay," the Rude Pundit told himself this morning. "It's okay to every now and again put aside the cynicism and the rancor and the doubts and just enjoy a good patriotic boner."