Instead of a sea of white faces, we saw America as it really is. Belligerence and bitterness were replaced by excitement and anticipation. Democrats talked about visions and values while Republicans rallied around distortions and deception.
The GOP flogged fear and loathing. Democrats promoted understanding and cooperation.
About the only thing Republicans got right at their convention was Americans have a clear choice.
Hijacked by far-right radicals funded by faceless billionaires, Republicans today see a nation that looks like one in the third world, with wealthy oligarchs pulling the political strings, a small and perpetually struggling middle class and tens of millions of poor and desperate citizens left to their own devices.
Democrats envision a nation of opportunity for all where the rules are the same for everyone regardless of the size of one’s Swiss bank account.
Right from the beginning Democrats embraced the Hispanic and Latino voters alienated by anti-immigration polemicists. We met Julian Castro, the dynamic young mayor of San Antonio who told of his family’s fierce determination to make it in their adopted country.
“My mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone, Castro declared.
Republicans tell us they’re all about freedom and individual rights — except when it comes to women and their reproductive health. Then Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan think government regulation and intrusion is fine.
Sandra Fluke, the law student who was viciously attacked by Rush Limbaugh because she spoke out about access to contraception, warned women, “In six months we’ll have a president who has our back or turns his back.”
In his acceptance speech last week, Romney mocked the president’s concerns about the environment but failed to mention American troops in harm’s way. In a time of war, it was a jaw-dropping omission that revealed much about the man auditioning for commander in chief.
Barack and Michelle Obama have been with the troops and their families from day one, never letting Americans forget their sacrifice.
Elaine Brye, an Ohio mother of four children on active duty in the military, introduced Michelle Obama, thanking the First Lady for her dedication and support.
Mrs. Obama then delivered an electrifying speech in which she invoked the humble roots of both she and her husband while reminding us that a strong and vibrant middle class is the key to economic recovery.
“Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it,” declared the First Lady. “He believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you.”
Speaking of slamming doors, George W. Bush never made it in person to the GOP convention. The former president is personae non grata in the Republican Party these days, the damage done to many American families during his two terms too recent and too raw.
Bill Clinton not only showed up in Charlotte, he enthusiastically nominated President Obama for a second term.
Republicans desperately hope voters will forget Bush and his ruinous “trickle down” policies even as Romney plans more of the same if he’s elected.
Democrats want voters to remember the eight years of peace and prosperity we enjoyed during Clinton’s eight years in office.
“No president could have fully repaired the damage (Obama) found in four years,” Clinton told Americans before blasting Romney’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich economic plan. “We can’t give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down.”
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.