All eyes are fixed on the Democratic National Convention – and some of our international bloggers are actually in Denver, Colorado, blogging it live. Others are wishing they were there and turning to their television screens and the Internet, to cover it as the news comes in.
The Convention itself is totally scripted, and the predictability is partly what makes it more of a ceremony than a real political conversation. I met one of the speech writers, who says they have a team of writers who will be sitting behind the stage in “the pit” editing and writing politicians’ submitted speeches before they go on stage. There are strict time limits they must adhere to, and they must submit their speeches in writing for editing first. I imagine it will be somewhat like the Oscar's except the people coming up to give the speeches won't be as drunk.
Despite this, Larsen is impressed with the inclusive nature of the event. She explains:
However, the Convention is making strong ‘gestures’ towards democracy and inclusion of the American people, which is nice. Unfortunately it seems less a matter of principal, than something that seems good for publicity, given how Obama is currently on the up and up
She further adds:
I hope once I'm there, my faith in the US political process may be restored, but national politics here generally seem to be more about saying the right thing than doing it. With 5000 delegates and 15,000 members of the press, clearly this whole show is about publicity more than anything. There are so many gross imperfections in the political system that voters simply seem to have come to terms with and lost hope of changing. It's doesn't make it easier that those who could change it, stand to gain by allowing the status quo to persist.
In another post, Larsen says the convention is operating like a “big events company.”
At times it feels the Democratic Convention operates a little bit like a big events company. Witness for instance, the press release they sent out on August 14, announcing the fact that Coca-Cola has been “Named Official Recycling Provider of the 2008 Convention” and will even be donating some recycling bins, energy-efficient coolers, and hybrid electric trucks to the city of Denver.
Cynics will wonder whether Coca-Cola's eagerness to be involved in the greening of the Convention has anything to do with the fact that Obama will be accepting the official nomination at the Pepsi Center.
She concludes her post with much food for thought saying:
A platform for change for some, a money-making opportunity for others. American democracy seems boastful of the fact that it does both simultaneously.
I missed Hillary Clinton speaking at the Hispanic DNC Caucus because I was dealing with the nightmare that was the picking up of credentials. But our student correspondent, Estevan, was there so he'll be blogging his thoughts later.
I did arrive in time to see Howard Dean, who focused on the need to register Latinos and get them to vote. He also spoke of how the Republicans scapegoat Latinos and how McCain flip-flopped on his own immigration reform plan.
Loretta Sanchez, whom I had never heard speak and has a surprisingly squeaky voice, spoke of how Latinos have earned residency in the U.S. because of our losing blood in Iraq.
I was able to ask Sanchez if she knew about the ICE Raids in Mississippi. She said: “Yo no se nada de eso, seÃ±orita” without looking at me.
Yup, she called me girl.
Meanwhile, Crian Padayachee, who blogs at The Political Glimpse from Ireland, wishes he was there. Here's his take on the first half an hour of the convention:
Watching the convention so far, it seems like a pretty good time, I really wish I had bought a plane ticket to go down to Colorado. John Legend is singing as I type this, never liked the guy except for one song whose title leaves me at this moment. Hope you guys are following my Twitter updates, Senator Klobuchar from Minnesota was pretty impressive so far in her Obama speech. If you are watching CNN International for you convention coverage, all they are doing is talking and not focusing on the speakers.
Also click here to follow Padayachee's Twitterfeed.
From the UK, Neil Stockley says the convention will be an opportunity for Obama to show his true colours. He explains:
Leading Liberal Democrats heading to Denver, Colorado for the Democratic National Convention will be able to see how Barack Obama uses his personal story to present himself as the man of destiny, part of Americaâ€™s unfolding history and, importantly, the man with a vision for Americaâ€™s future.
1. 1932 DNC – FDR
2. 1964 RNC – Barry Goldwater
3. 1968 DNC – Chicago anti war riots
4. 1948 DNC – Hubert Humphrey in favour of racial integration, leading to Dixiecrats walkout
5. 1976 RNC – Ronald Reagan impromptu speech
6. 1980 DNC – Ted Kennedy speech
7. 1960 DNC – JFK acceptance speech
8. 2004 DNC – Barack Obama
9. 1992 RNC – Pat Buchanan with his culture war speech
10. 1896 DNC – William Jennings Bryan giving a rousing speech arguing against the gold standard
He further comments:
Interesting that most of them are not speechs by the winner, but by others. I suspect the Ted Kennedy speech at the 2008 DNC convention could become historic (and I say this not liking Kennedy). With Obama seen by many as an heir to JFK, a speech by the last surviving brother will have significance. And the reality that Ted Kennnedy is dying, this will be his last convention, and with his death will go that generation of the Kennedys. I suspect it will be very raw and powerful.
Stay tuned for more coverage from the convention.