Friday, September 05, 2008

Convention Thoughts ' 08

A Few Issues for Critical Consideration

These 2008 political conventions I viewed on PBS have been interesting in a way I haven't experienced for a number of years. I can recall first seeing similar convention events when only three major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC competed in providing gavel to gavel television coverage. Earlier years consisted of my listening only to radio coverage. TV years had anchormen (and I do mean just men) giving pronouncement on all that was happening as they sat in booths looking down on the stage and delegates below.

Newsmen, and maybe a few women in later years, from each of the respective networks scurried about on the convention floor among the delegates seeking any sort of news item. They sought information previously not known, or facts providing confirmation about building versus disintegrating voting coalitions within and between states for vying Presidential candidates. Speculation could also run rampant about who would then be selected to be the Vice-Presidential candidate. There could be long periods of boredom for the viewer subjected to the rhetoric of the talking heads. There could also be instances of suspense accompanied by a certain air of excitement some years.

Reportedly lots of negotiations between the "wheelers and dealers" were taking place other times in "smoke-filled rooms," (not without a little liquid lubricant I suspect) to ensure the nomination of a candidate desired by many, or possibly encourage one hoping to upset that candidate. Rumors about political maneuvering would sometimes result in uncertainty as to exactly for whom various state delegations would cast their votes and who would garner the most. In my youth there actually were times I could delude myself into thinking that just possibly the candidate finally selected had not actually been pre-selected behind closed doors.

I remember the alphabetical roll call of the states – a loud amplified voice announced"Alabama" and from that state's delegation, "Mr. (or Madame) Chairman, the beautiful (or some other flattering adjectives) state of Alabama yields to the state of ..." (some other state that wanted to be first to place their candidate's name in nomination.) Later when voting commenced I might hear "The state of Illinois is proud to cast its votes for..."(candidate's name.) Each state was sequentially called upon to cast their votes. They frequently added colorful descriptions of their state, often offering the state's slogan, naming their flower or primary commercial products.

For many of those years Alaska and Hawaii weren't yet states. U. S. Territories were allowed to vote at political party conventions to help nominate candidates, though they could not vote in actual national elections. I remember proud announcements from such places as "Puerto Rico casts its votes for ......"

I felt a sense of keen interest watching these Democratic and Republican Party Conventions this year. Certainly this has not been because of any question, nor had there been for months, as to the identity of the Presidential candidates. There had been no reason to think either of these pre-selected candidates would be officially challenged during their respective conventions and they weren't. The attraction for me has been because I believe this to be a critical election of my lifetime.

There was some suspense about the selection of Vice Presidential running mates. Traditionally the Presidential candidate makes that selection, though on one past occasion convention delegates were given that choice. Finally, we've learned who these prospective Veeps would be.

Names on our November 2008 voting ballots will be:


Presidential Nominee - Barack Obama

Vice-Presidential Nominee - Joe Biden


Presidential Nominee - John McCain

Vice-Presidential Nominee - Sarah Palin

I think there is a great sense of excitement in both political parties over the candidates that will appear on our November 4th ballot. I hope this means that more people become actively involved in examining the issues before us in this election and vote when the day comes. Voting by absentee ballot is also an option for those unable to vote in person on election day, but they'll have even less time to thoroughly research the vital issues in order to vote intelligently.

We have only eight weeks in which to ferret fact from fiction as to how exactly each of these political party candidates plans to resolve the problems our country faces. Both espouse they are offering change.

Here are just a few questions to ask from many we need to examine on the domestic and foreign fronts:

  • What is the platform and philosophy of each of these two major political parties?

  • Do those who seek office demonstrate they actually support what their party claims to believe?

  • Does the party have a record of having followed what they profess guides their actions?

  • What plans being touted by which candidates represent true change?

  • Which candidates have action plans to breathe life into the American dream by ending the demise of the middle class?

  • How can we best demonstrate this nation's humanity for people of all ages in our country?

  • Whose plans are most likely to accomplish the best results for the most people?


  1. Great post, and I wonder if we'll get any straight definitive answers to your questions...let's hope so!

  2. I, too, remember the days of different conventions with a combination of periods of boredom and of suspense.

    Good luck with finding the answers to your questions. They are excellent, but the candidates will spin the answers to sound like what they think the electorate wants. Honesty seems to be sadly lacking.

  3. Great post Joared. I watched a lot of the Democratic convention but I have to admit I didn't get to watch much of the Republican side. Time will tell whether your questions will be answered, but I have my doubts that you'll get full satisfaction. These next eight weeks should be very interesting....

  4. Good post. I wish more Americans would ask themselves your questions. People need to think issues but too often it's all about emotions and we can see how well that's worked out

  5. Thanks to all above who've commented.
    My questions here only address matters related to the internal state of our country. I also have questions regarding our status in the rest of the world that I've written about here in earlier posts.