Just finished watching this final night’s Democratic Convention coverage on C-SPAN, unsullied by any trace of nutty network commentary. So what happened tonight? Big John took my expectations, multiplied ‘em by 100 then knocked ‘em out of the park, closed the sale, and left me speechless (video, alt video, QT/WMP/audio, transcript).
I finally see this Kerry campaign has integrity: what they do tends to dovetail with what they say. This is a new thing, the necessary foundation stone; anything less means a house — or a presidency — built on sand. For by their fruits we recognize anyone, not by their words alone.
Further, my take is these words aren’t just for effect; they’re meant words, humble words, a check-and-balance against our becoming faith-based monsters. I think they reveal the heart of a Democratic worldview:
“I don’t want to claim that God is on our side;
I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side.”
—JFK quoting Lincoln, July 29, 2004
My prayer is answered: Tonight I became a full-speed-ahead Kerry supporter. Doubts, reluctance, lukewarm outlook — gone. I’m now convinced this is God’s blessing for America we keep asking for: this is the man, these are the people, this is the time, this is the movement, this is the mission, this is the answer.
I think ABB now pales as a reason to vote for Kerry. What’s been awakened here is an audacious hope for our country and our world, and it’s motivating a bumper crop of diverse, talented, and passionate people willing to step up to the plate to serve our country, heal our land, bless this world. They’ve been on parade all week in Boston, and they are but the tip of the iceberg. I did not see this glory comin’.
Hope transcends. I don’t forget for a minute that exercising this hope and implementing these plans depends on fallible human beings, and that as a result these plans gang aft agley. But hope always works through fallible human beings. When it thrives, it thrives despite our foibles. What it accomplishes, it accomplishes beyond our everyday abilities. I think its origins are divine. The ends to which hope leads are left largely up to us.
Mark my words:
This is divine intervention, a lifeline to bring us back from the brink.
How we respond is up to us.
Hours later …
I find myself as hopeful this new day as I was last night when I wrote the first draft of this entry. Sustainable hope, ahhh, this is different.
Wesley Clark. Brilliant, well-spoken, man’s man, soldier’s soldier. What military person can diss Gen. Clark? What military person can discount what Gen. Clark has to say? What military person wouldn’t listen? (video, transcript)
This soldier has news for you: Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people. Franklin Roosevelt said it best: “Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth.”
Vanessa and Alex Kerry. Photogenic, bright, articulate, loving. Who could not want to know these Kerry daughters better? And you know what? The story of their dad’s saving a hamster tells me more about his character than 10,000 words almost anywhere else; it’s a tiny little hologram of deep meaning (transcript).
Max Cleland. The man was beaming. Seeing the bonds of brotherhood on display during Max’s speech, the web of humanity that binds us one to another, moved me deeply. War is a machine that cranks out death and destruction, but it is also a crucible in which humanity’s dross sometimes burns away leaving pure character. And that, I think I see, is the case with Max (video, transcript).
Tonight, I’d like to let you know, that even before I met John Kerry, he was my brother. Even before I knew John Kerry, he was my friend. Even before I spoke with John Kerry, he gave me hope.
The Bible tells me that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. John Kerry’s fellow crewmates — the men I am honored to share the stage with — are living testimony to his leadership, his courage under fire, and his willingness to risk his life for his fellow Americans. There is no greater act of patriotism than that.
My hope today: The choice before us has been made so clear, the differences so vivid, the affirming blessings of wisdom, intelligence, and character so inexplicably distributed, the “fruits by which we know them” so ripe before our senses, that even for lifelong Republican voters, even for hell-or-high-water Bush supporters up to now, the downside to voting for Kerry has become so small, the upside so great, that there is now no discomfort, dishonor, or shame in changing one’s position and doing an honest and hopeful and powerful thing: in the privacy of the voting booth, choose the candidate — and the worldview — you really want.
Update: Josh points to William Saletan’s strong Rove’s Blunder. Don’t miss it for insight into what’s happening here.
For an actual detailed analysis of Kerry and his speech, nobody does it like Steve G. Thanks, Steve.
[Yes, I’ve rewritten this entry ten times in varying degrees of grandiloquence; it’s eventually going to say what I mean. :-) ]