Thursday, September 6, 2012

Let's Talk DNC

I was shooting mercenaries on my PS Vita when my mom called me up and breathlessly informed me that she would be staying up to watch Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention. Bill is the reason my mom started watching CNN nonstop in the early nineties. She was enraptured by his dreamy dreaminess, and loved him even through the scandal. Like Hillary, I guess, but without actually having met him.

I trooped to the living room, still glued to my beautiful five-inch OLED multi touch screen, and alternated between more video game heroics and the TV. I half-listened to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law School grad who got shut out of an all-male panel about contraception coverage, quietly state that Barack Obama is a president who "thinks of his daughters, and not his donors or delegates," to the approving roar of the crowd.

Then Elizabeth Warren came on, and I put down my console to clap. She was earnest, assertive, and powerfully communicated her Middle Class First platform. She talked about her and her family's struggles, and how the people she talked to in Massachusetts gained nothing from trickle-down policies. She declared that she wanted to live in an America where billionaires get taxed the same as their secretaries. She said it was an honor to be the warm-up act for Bill Clinton.

When the man himself came onstage, there came an explosion of awesomeness on top of the awesomesauce that is Elizabeth Warren. Together, the former US President and the aspiring US Senator are like the Planeteers:

EARTH! FIRE! WIND! WATER! BRAINS! <-- not to be mistaken for the zombie rallying cry

I was most impressed by Bill Clinton's ability to talk about complex policy-related ideas in a simple, accessible manner. Sure, he boiled down a lot of stuff, but the core of what he said was accurate. He took his turn kicking the RNC speeches in the groin, especially the egregiously non-factual ones, like Paul Ryan's claim that Obama's $716 billion cuts in Medicare weakens the entire system. Ryan, by the way, proposed cuts in the exact same amount in his budget. "It takes a lot of brass to attack a man for something you did!" Bill exclaimed, to hoots and laughter.

The man is such a great orator that I felt like he was talking to us. He was funny, engaging, charismatic, and had a clear grasp of the challenges facing the country. He felt Barack Obama offered better solutions than Mitt Romney. Bill even made a crack about respecting Obama so much more because he "had the good sense to marry Michelle!"

Then he got serious. He told us that he had never seen so much bipartisan hatred. He said he had a one-word answer whenever people ask how he got the budget balanced during his tenure: "Arithmetic!" He followed that up with, "We cannot afford to give the reigns to someone who will double down on trickle down!" It was an impressive performance.

As he talked, the camera showed flashes of the audience reactions. And what an audience -- old people, young people, Asians, Latinos, African-Americans, disabled individuals, grandmas, veterans, you name it, they were probably there cheering and waving banners. DIVERSITY!!!

(In true form, The Daily Show did a hilarious segment about how Democrats think of themselves as tolerant and would let anyone join, except "gun-toting hillbillies" or "redneck freaks." At the end of the segment, a grandma finally realized that tolerance means accepting everyone.)

I had a green card in 2008, when Obama was elected. I watched his inauguration speech and thought to myself that, if ever there was a reason for me to get citizenship here, it would be so I could be a part of Obama's America, or rather an America that I never imagined, where enough people overcame racism and lies and negativity to put a talented man in the top office. "We always come back," Bill Clinton said, and I interpreted that as a proclamation of the United States' tenacity, its unstoppable rebounding from the dark recesses of hardship and war and uncertainty.

Tonight, it's President Obama's turn to speak. This time, the PS Vita stays in the other room.

Summer Book Recommendations