Politcal Conventions — Change the #%@& Channel…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 1, 2008

I didn’t watch much of either political convention. Again, as an alleged editorial cartoonist I should probably show more interest for such things or at least lie and tell you that I immersed myself in the speeches to marinade in the┬ásubtle flavors so as to detect and then share the truth behind the scenes. But seriously, there ain’t no behind-the-scenes — they’re pep rallies! Pep rallies for the believers and the bought (and the believers who don’t realize they’ve been bought).

I did flip by one night, and I don’t remember which one it was but there was a guy delivering a stilted rah-rah with the repeat phrase, “Yes we can!” So, him: “Quasi-motivational reference to action affecting a positive outcome of a supposed party platform item.” Pause. Then Crowd: “Yes we can!” And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I watched fascinated by the awkwardness of it all — the D-List speaker straining for legitimacy, the attempts of the camera to catch a delegate with sincere enthusiasm, the tension of a thousand of pundits desperately trying to churn up any sort of opinion before the guy finished. When my dear wife broke me from my spell with a, “change the channel — my head is going to explode.” So that was it for conventions.


  1. Kris said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    Oddly, I watched the ‘major’ speakers at both conventions. I couldn’t turn away. I had to find out what they would say. If I could have TIVO’d out the extended applause breaks and raucus chants, I would have. I did wonder who those people were and how they got invited. I wondered to myself how many ‘unfortunate’ camera moments my children would have generated if I were a candidate – nose picking, laying on the chair, talking to themselves, etc. Would the camera crews find any 50+ war veterans at the democratic convention? Would they find a person of color at the republican convention? But I certainly agree they are pep rallies and painful to watch.

  2. John said,

    September 12, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

    Ohmygosh! Made me think of think of glancing over at Ian in the middle of Mike’s wedding. He was all laid back, feet up, tilted to one side, serene — paying perfect attention but as relaxed as I think I’ve ever seen anybody in a pew.

  3. Kris said,

    September 20, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

    Well….those really aren’t ‘pews’ at the Unitarian church, now are they? Anna had her feet straight up on the back of the chair. Nice. Lady-like. She will be too smart to go into politics but by God, she’d be a straight shooter.

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