Last night, John McCain spoke to his Republican base of 20,000 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Many of these supporters will be his staunchest allies in his push for the presidency this fall.
Sen. McCain’s speech came exactly one week after Barack Obama spoke at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado in front of 76,000+ onlookers. Statistics have been since released revealing that approximately 38 million people watched Obama’s acceptance speech last Thursday.
While John McCain can say that Obama chose to give his acceptance speech in a stadium because he is a celebrity, Obama and the Democratic Party claimed that it was to open up the convention to the local community. This is a spectacular political move in a state that the Democrats hope will sway towards their side come November.
One of the more intriguing speeches was given by McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin. She poked fun at the Democrats and said that she would challenge the status quo. I found this extremely perplexing because it is exactly the opposite of what most people think of when they think of conservatives.
Generally conservatives like to preserve the natural order. That is, they like tradition. The hierarchy of the rich, middle class, and poor is something the Republicans often seem to defend through their policies. How else can they explain tax cuts for the rich, expensive and elaborate government contracts for multinational corporations, and maintaining a relatively low minimum wage, minimal to no health care for those that can’t afford it, and their efforts to decrease social programs such as welfare?
If the Republicans really wanted to challenge the status quo, you would think they would want to create a more equal and well balanced economy where the rich didn’t get richer while the poor got poorer. But then again, this is the Republican Party. They like telling people one thing while acting in another.
I don’t mean to only rag on the GOP though. Sure Barack Obama can promise all the change you may want, but when it comes down to it, he has not passed one significant piece of legislation that has affected the people of this country, let alone the people of his state, Illinois.
I hope that I do not come off as too much of a cynic here, but all I want to suggest is that perhaps we may be in for something more than we expected. Sure we may all be caught up in this moment. Obama is captivating enormous crowds, while McCain and Palin are promising their own form of change. But all in all, it may just be perfect political rhetoric.
So what do we do? How do we prepare for November 5? Can we really be prepared for a new presidency, no matter who it is? My only advice is this: don’t get too headstrong and faithful in thinking that one man or woman and one party is going to change the way this nation works. The only way anything significant will happen is with the pressure of citizens like you and me, with the help of the media, in asking the tough questions of both the politicians we love and the politicians we hate. If your candidate loses, do not give up. For the sake of the political system and for the sake of you, continue to fight till you get what you need and care about from the politician that you put in office to serve you.
The people that attend these Conventions generally fit into one of two categories: supporters or protesters. There is little room for the undecided and cynical to be a part of it all. Much of the news coverage even fall into these categories. FOX news blasted Obama during the DNC, much like MSNBC’s Keith Olberman blasted McCain and the Republicans during the RNC.
As a reporter that attended the DNC, I was left with quite a few impressions. One of Obama 38 million watched, 76,000 + at Invesco.