Thursday, 6 September 2012

Democratic National Convention

I'll post more about the DNC when I've seen President Obama's speech tonight, but for now I just wanted to share the link to the live feed that's been going out and will continue to go out throughout the DNC events and presentations. Click on the logo to the left to go to the live feed page.

I live too far out to get into Charlotte (you can't drive in to uptown and public transport has been suspended), which makes me a little sad as I'd like to go in to feel the vibe of the event, but it's still exciting to know it's happening just over FIVE miles away! Plus I can watch it in the comfort of my own home, with a nice glass of wine, maybe with a friend or two, and surrounded by Dogs 'N' Cat. Geddit?!

Anyone who knows me knows that my political persuasions are more to do with fairness and equality, as well as honesty, integrity, and intelligence, rather than being aligned with one particular party. However, in America it seems that automatically makes me a Democrat (left winger!). I guess I am kind of a Liberal Democrat back home, but I also have some Conservative/right wing and some Labour/left wing opinions also. It really depends on the issue being discussed. Here, though, I am clearly pretty much entirely aligned with the Democratic Party. I can't remember who said this to me, but a great quote I heard about American politics is that "the left wing have gone right, and the right wing have gone to the insane asylum". I just feel that issues like women's rights, the economy, marriage/people equality, keeping businesses local, the influence of religion over legislation, and healthcare provision are all dealt with better by the Democratic Party in the USA.

One thing I would like to mention is that President Clinton gave an excellent speech last night, and I feel that Democrats and Republicans, and all the independents in between, should take the time to listen to it. While there are, of course, many pro-Obama statements, the issue of being able to work together towards common, mutually beneficial goals regardless of political allegiance, and that compromise is not a weakness, were the predominant elements of his message. The fact that Republicans have made some excellent contributions to America today was not only mentioned but emphasised, and it was also pointed out that the people heading up the GOP today are not representative of the original tenets of the party (so the party itself isn't irrelevant or dangerous, but its current leaders pose a great threat to the American people). To disagree with the President has somehow become synonymous with hating him, as though you must also abhor him as a person to truly be disagreeing with his politics - a very worrying development indeed.

I think it's a speech relevant for everyone. As Clinton concluded, quoting the Preamble to the Constitution, "In the end we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives ... a more perfect union." America needs people who can empathise, compromise, and vitalise: I think that's Obama and the Democrats.

Lastly, after his speech, there was some fantastic presidential man-love in the form of a president-on-president hug. I thought it was lovely, so here are some photos.

During President Clinton's speech.

Looks like a good hug.
President Obama joins him at the end and
hugs him in thanks.


  1. Well I voted Lib Dem or Labour back in Blighty, but views that are considered moderate or centre-left in the UK are seen more as Marxism in the USA! lol

    I wouldn't trust Bill Clinton as far as I could throw him on a personal level (though I could probably throw him a little further now that he's lost all that weight) - but wow, what an orator!

    The only problem for the Dems is that Clinton's left Obama with a tough act to follow!

    1. No, I think Clinton's reputation is somewhat sunk on a personal level, but that's not really what it's about. Not for me, anyway, though I know it plays a part for some! He's such a great speaker; clever, calm, easy to like; enthusiastic without being insistent. I really enjoyed it.

      Agreed: people seem to think I'm some kind of Socialist here sometimes! Hahahahaha. I guess it's all that McCarthyism and fear of Communism from back in the 50s.

      Let's see how Obama does tonight! I'm excited.

    2. I have a family friend who has lived in Georgia for over twenty years and the politics is the one thing that he has never really got used to and still struggles with to some extent. I think that on an everyday level, Americans are friendly and the culture seems very close, so you get lulled into a feeling that the US and the UK aren't much different. But then when you deal with the politics, you can easily feel like you are in a completely alien world - conservative christians, rightwing libertarians, anti-gay, anti-evolution and anti-women attitudes can seem almost overwhelming at times. I don't think I've really been anywhere where the population seems so polarized, although Britain during the 80s at the height of the miners' strike was pretty uncomfortable.

    3. I think I will never get used to certain ideas being acceptable or taken seriously (anti-gay, anti-science, anti-women, as you say), as such things would be seen as irrelevant and a waste of time - in the context of politics, certainly - back home. It's overwhelming how many people seem to be happy to be told what to think, or at least that's how the TV makes it come across. I miss the BBC!

      I agree that the polarization, plus the vehemence with which the two sides are fought for is crazy! I am too young to remember the miners' strike, but I have read some about it, and know how angry some of my older colleagues were/are with Thatcher and the gov't back then.

    4. Well, I had mixed feelings about the miners strike, I meant more that Britain was very politically polarized and each side was bitterly angry with the other in the 80s (the public, as much as the unions and Thatcher). From the 90s to the present, however, there hasn't really been that much difference between the 3 main British parties in my opinion, as they are all essentially fighting over the centre ground.

      The US Democrats and the GOP, on the other hand, seem poles apart and if anything, the divide seems to be increasing more and more all the time. (My personal hope is that the Republicans will lose and either the moderates will take their party back from the Tea Party, or the party will split up!)

      As my wife reminds me, we live in a liberal college town. But I still don't like the general atmosphere across the country as a whole at present, and there are certainly places in the USA that I wouldn't want to live.

      We gave up on US cable TV and instead opted to have a Roku internet streaming box instead. As well as being better value for money for us, we get the BBC 24 Hour World news via a channel called Nowhere TV.

    5. Yes, I always got the feeling that our three main parties mesh quite a lot; there's a lot of policy/views cross-over, and some significant numbers in the independent parties, too. Fighting over the middle ground sounds about right. I guess extremism and bipolarity are more things of the past in the UK (although I imagine given the right circumstances it could happen again). I often forget how young America is, and almost expect more of it because of how big it is and its influence over the western world. That's probably a mistake.

      The Democrats and the GOP differences are incredible. Like you say, poles apart; utterly opposite on almost all things. That's why I was so pleased when Clinton advocated compromise and working together. All the vitriol and angry accusations really amount to nothing when it comes down to making viable policies for the country and its citizens. I join you in your hopes for the Republican party. It can't (please?) continue as it is.

      We live in one of the two more liberal counties of NC (Mecklenburg), and I'm proud to say we were against Amendment One. BUT the whole state is in a bit of a mess politically, it seems. There are worse, of course, but it's still nowhere near as liberal as the north.

      As regards TV, we're the same. We just have Netflix and the internet. I use an app to listen to British radio (BBC5 Live), although I do listen to NPR every morning on the way to work. I can't stand the constant ad breaks, the personal, unnecessary commentary by news anchors, and the inane or prejudicial crap spilled by so many people, that is sadly no doubt influencing the opinions of Americans all over the country. I giggled at Obama's mention of him 'approving this message' and being sick of it. The political adverts here are a joke (although I guess our party political broadcasts aren't much better, but at least they touch on policies/what the party plans to do if elected). It seems like childish sniping to me, just accusations about what the other party has or hasn't done, but not what the party who's advertising HAS done well or WILL do well if elected. It's an odd way to try to win an election. Like a popularity contest or reality TV.


Thanks for taking the time to write! I try to reply to everyone, and I love to read your comments.