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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Democratic Convention Highlights, Day 3

Speeches from the third day of the virtual convention, selected by your Head Trucker.

Former President Obama:  "Our Democracy Is at Stake"
Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala's ability to lead this country out of these dark times and build it back better. But here's the thing: no single American can fix this country alone. Not even a president. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better. It requires an active and informed citizenry. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability – to embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure.

Because that's what at stake right now. Our democracy.

Look, I understand why a lot of Americans are down on government. The way the rules have been set up and abused in Congress make it easier for special interests to stop progress than to make progress. Believe me, I know. I understand why a white factory worker who's seen his wages cut or his job shipped overseas might feel like the government no longer looks out for him, and why a Black mother might feel like it never looked out for her at all. I understand why a new immigrant might look around this country and wonder whether there's still a place for him here; why a young person might look at politics right now, the circus of it all, the meanness and the lies and crazy conspiracy theories and think, what's the point?

Well, here's the point: this president and those in power – those who benefit from keeping things the way they are – they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can't win you over with their policies. So they're hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote does not matter. That's how they win. That's how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That's how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That's how a democracy withers, until it's no democracy at all.

And we can't let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you're going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too. Do what Americans have done for over two centuries when faced with even tougher times than this – all those quiet heroes who found the courage to keep marching, keep pushing in the face of hardship and injustice.

A poignant speech by former Representative Gabby Giffords:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

And Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for Vice-President:

What I Say: To be perfectly honest, some of tonight's speeches - including several others not posted here - gave me the feeling I was listening in on the chatter at girls' night out: lots of cutesy smiles and talk about babies and mothers and ooey-gooey feelings, and who loves you best. Well now, sisters, that's fine, that's fine - I suppose you all feel your time has come, here at the centennial of Women's Suffrage, and why not celebrate being girls in power together?  Whee!

But it's a damn hard, cruel world out there, and you're not being elected to toss posies and wave from the back of a convertible. You are all entrusted with the fearsome responsibility of saving this Republic from destruction in the midst of the most terrible crisis since the Second World War - or the Civil War - maybe even since our country was founded. As Obama said, our democracy is at stake, threatened by malicious, cunning forces within and without.  Cutesy, gooey, kissy-kissy feelings just won't cut it.

I'm not saying any of you ladies aren't strong - I'm just saying, you'd better be prepared for a helluva big fight against some mighty mean and ugly desperadoes - and fight to win, by wit and grit. We are counting on you, Kamala, and all the rest of you - and so are unborn generations who will grow up in liberty or slavery, depending on how you meet the challenges of today.

So go get 'em, girls. But leave the powder puffs at home.


Davis said...

I can't bring myself to watch the convention at all. I did watch Obama's speech - it's excellent in every way. Thanks for posting a few and I will watch them gradually...

So having not watched the others, I take your point however as generally I've found women often seem to want to make such a point of being - well - women. Patriarchy I suppose has made this seem important, I guess, But other than the idiot in the WH now, mostly men don't give speeches where they "talk about sports and cars and such and how tough they are". Even "W" who did try to put out a macho image of sorts, tried to be serious throughout his speeches. But I'm willing to listen to any feedback based on what an idiot I am!

Russ Manley said...

Yes, Obama was excellent as usual - he said everything he should have said about defending the Constitution and saving our democracy. The finest president of my adult life. Would that he could be elected again!

But no, you're not an idiot at all. There was something very much on display in last night's convention, something new and unsettling, and I woke up with an epiphany. I'll post more about that later today when I've processed my thoughts better.

Stay tuned.

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